I’m going to be blunt here. I don’t agree with Ben Roethlisberger’s statements yesterday made to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette. Roethlisberger claims the locker room is fine and that recent comments made by a number of current players and a former one are out of “frustration” over an 8-8 season. Frustration is often the result of much more though and that’s where I differ.
I believe where there is smoke there is fire. There were issues in that locker room as the season wore on whether they were in regards to LaMarr Woodley or whether there was friction between Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. Obviously Ben is a helluva lot closer to the locker room than I am, but it’s clear to me there were significant issues in 2012.
Where I couldn’t agree more with Roethlisberger is how he addressed this situation.
First of all, he didn’t go to the first network that would put him on camera and air the team’s dirty laundry as Ryan Clark, Antonio Brown and Hines Ward did. He allowed the situation to play out, cool down and then made his statements to a local reporter who is certainly closer to the Steelers’ situation than anyone at the NFL Network or ESPN ever will be.
He didn’t make his comments on camera which immediately softened anything he had to say about current or former teammates. When he spoke of them, he used their names and only when he addressed Ward did he not use a his name. There’s a reason for that if you didn’t know already…
What Roethlisberger has done is take the first step towards being a better leader and perhaps more importantly, a guy who is attempting to make clear that these issues need to be handled better in the future.
No, I don’t agree with everything Ben Roethlisberger had to say regarding the locker room, but I love the way he went about discussing it. If nothing else, it lays the groundwork for 2013. It tells guys that there is leadership on the roster and most importantly that these matters are left to the team and not the television.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.