Last summer, you may remember, in the midst of the first Ben Roethlisberger sex scandal (Reno edition), NBA legend Shaquille O' Neal came to town to film the inaugural episode of his show "Shaq Vs." with Big Ben. The show pits Shaq as a fish-out-of-water in competition against a host of celebrity athletes at the games they do best.
Filming of the second season of the Disney-produced program is about to commence, as per a press release sent to our office earlier today. On Wednesday, Shaq will 'take on' Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a one-on-one stock car race at Concord (N.C.) Speedway.
The press release goes on to list all of Shaq's challenges from the previous season. All except one.
From the release:
"The first season pitted Shaq in a head-to-head match-up against Albert Pujols in a homerun-hitting contest, Michael Phelps in a swimming race, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in beach volleyball, and Oscar de la Hoya in a boxing match."
You'll note that Milledgeville's midnight marauder is conveniently missing from the list. Apparently, the Mouse doesn't care for sexual assault allegations.
Whether you agree or disagree with the league's punishment of Big Ben or whatever you think about Roethlisberger personally, this snub, albeit very minor, is a tip-of-the-iceberg example of the persona-non-grata treatment he'll get for the foreseeable future from corporations and organizations, big and small. Granted, Big Ben never was the marketing machine that Peyton Manning is, and he doesn't have as much to lose as Tiger Woods. But nonetheless, the omission of Roethlisberger is probably not an accident.
During Roethlisberger's interview with KDKA last week of his behavior and persona that "Superman kept taking over Clark Kent."
That was an oddly fitting metaphor, because in the eyes of marketers, he's kryptonite right now.
"And you are ... ?"