Sex scandals in sports: Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods, Rick Pitino, TMZ and who is taking all these pictures?

As sports fans these days, it seems we’re subjected to an endless barrage of sex scandals.  Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods, Rick Pitino, Greg Oden, Steve Phillips, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, the Minnesota Vikings… the list goes on and on.  It’s getting to the point where we can no longer pick up a newspaper without seeing a photo of an athlete doing something he shouldn’t.

I understand that the high-profile athlete is subjected to more temptation than the average, hormonal male.  They’re wealthier, better looking, more successful, more recognizable and have a lot more to lose.

As if common sense wasn’t enough to steer someone out of such situations, every professional sports league coaches its athletes about the pitfalls that accompany newly found fame.  Women, drugs, alcohol, media and poorly-selected posses comprise a long list of haters waiting for a single slip-up before they leave your carefully crafted image forever tainted.

Ben Roethlisberger is the latest to put himself in this position as another female has accused him of sexual assault, the second to do so within a year.  As it turns out, photos were taken of Ben the night in question.  The investigation is ongoing.

Whether innocent or guilty, Roethlisberger has already been judged in the court of public opinion.  But these latest pictures of Ben raise a series of questions.

The first that comes to mind is why does he continue to put himself in these situations?  Like Matt Leinart, Michael Phelps and Larry Eustachy before him, someone captured images of Ben he wishes were never made public.

But beyond that, where did these pictures come from?  Who took them?  Was it a friend of Ben’s, a friend of the girl’s, a passerby or does TMZ just employ a fleet of picture-snapping, party-going, saboteurs assigned to do nothing but photograph celebrities in compromising positions?  Who ultimately decided to sell these pictures to TMZ and were they at all conflicted about doing so?  How much did they get paid and did they buy themselves something nice?

Did this person invade Roethlisberger’s privacy or was he within his rights to snap these photos?  Heck, Big Ben posed for the pictures.  It looks like he was having a good time.  Does the person who took them boast about the night he hung out with the Super Bowl winning quarterback?  Is he now ostracized as a rat?  And how badly does Ben want to kick this person’s ass?

If you were out one night, spotted a high-profile athlete doing something foolish and were in the unique position to take a picture of it, would you?  Or would you respect his privacy and move on?  If you did take the pictures, would you sell them?  Would you feel good about yourself afterwards?

This post intends neither to condemn nor excuse Roethlisberger for his actions.  I have no idea what happened that night and by the looks of these photos, neither does he.

Celebrities are not above the law nor common decency but how much privacy should they be allowed and does stupidity override that right?  People are still clamoring about the night Tiger Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant, wanting to know more.  But when and where do we draw the line?  Don’t high-profile athletes share the same right to privacy as all of us or do they relinquish some of that by being in the public eye?

Despite the limited details of the Roethlisberger case, there is one thing we know for sure.  Ben regrets being there that night.  The investigation will run its course and if he’s found guilty of sexual assault, he’ll have his day in court.  Even if he’s cleared of all charges, most of us agree he needs to take a night off from the disco.  Once it’s all said and done, maybe he’ll finally learn when to say when… and to stop saying cheese.

48 thoughts on “Sex scandals in sports: Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods, Rick Pitino, TMZ and who is taking all these pictures?

  1. As public personalities (hey, they’re on TV and are paid lots of money for their talent at the expense of the public) their private behavior cannot be ensured, unfortunately. I would never take a photograph like this, but geeze, this is the age of Smart Phones. They can do everything…video, photograph, text. Ahh…all of the above can also be saved!!! So why does a public personality risk his privacy? Does he consider the hundreds of young boys and girls who may look up to him as a role model? Does he consider his loved ones? Or does he just consider that he’s above every other mortal being and cannot possibly be harmed by his dalliances. There are no front offices, offensive linemen, caddies, or time out calls to shield them from real life faux pas.

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And she probably has a Smart Phone to amplify and publicize that scorn! And it could be so much worse. Remember Steve McNair.

    P.S. You’d think they’d have learned lessons from some of our more (in)famous politicians caught in this same dilemma.

    PPS. I’m sure there are woman who make these mistakes too…I’m not bashing males!

  2. From the looks of it, Big Ben sure took his t-shirt seriously.

    Judging by what information has come out about how the investigation is going, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be found guilty of anything or even tried, but we’ll see.

    Perhaps he likes living dangerously, but it might be time for Ben to become more of a homebody, ’cause the third time won’t be the charm.

  3. USC Liz…. VERY well said.

    Thanks again for swinging by.

    I find it interesting that Tiger finally acknowledged his younger fans in his SECOND public apology, understanding that despite whether athletes accept the role of role model, many of them are thrust into it.

    Here’s hoping that parents these days have enough sense to steer their children’s taste of right and wrong in determining which athletes they look up to.

  4. I like Roethlisberger’s choice of t-shirt. Sexual assault allegations aside, that should tell you something about him.

  5. See there?

    Why can’t we all be responsible adults like Webmaster Eddie Griffin, drink a few Coronas with dinner and call it a night.

    By the way, I’m getting t-shirts made up that say “Blog Like A Champion.”

  6. Chris

    It looks that with the alleged victim failing to turn up for an appointed interview with the Milledgeville PD and Georgia Bureau of Investigtion (GBI) . They may well now either have to drop the case or try to see if the victim is still prepared to give a statement. They (law enforcement) had initially requested a DNA sample from the player.

    But in light of the fact that the victim failed to turn up for the interview everything now appears to be on hold.

    The guys within the criminal side of the office here, state that there’s very little that the cops can do if the alleged victim isn’t prepared to go ahead with the whole procedure. I find it hard to believe but cases of this kind differ from state to state with regard to the laws that encapsulate them.

    Roethlisberger still isn’t out the woods yet, as he’s still got to explain himself to Goodell.

    Alan Parkins

  7. Before we go any further with the comments, guys (and girls), nobody has answered my questions.

    We all know athletes think they’re entitled but the gist of the piece was… if YOU were out, would you snap photos of these people and if so, would you sell them for money?

    I’m guessing most of us would not. Am I wrong?

  8. I probably would take the picture, but in all honesty after being tempted to cash in, I would delete it…. probably:)

  9. “Roethlisberger still isn’t out the woods yet, as he’s still got to explain himself to Goodell.”

    How about explaining himself to God?

  10. Chris

    You seem to forget is that all investigators have done is to place the investigation on hold . They haven’t dropped it completely. So it doesn’t negate his guilt or innocence. Let me pose this question to you however is it Ben can place himself in the same situation repeatedly and still come up with the claim that the sex was consensual ? Are you that naive to think that every female wants to be on the end of his ‘johnson’ just because of who he is ? C’mon now ?

    Chris as to the pics question . It doesn’t interest me at all. In Miami and areas of South Beach one you’ve seen one celeb it’s no different from the vast majority of ’em to begin with. I don’t live vicariously through their actions. Life is far more important than that. Let’s just see if Goodell and the Steelers’ front office are going to let him with another slap on the wrist. You’ve failed to see the pattern of behavior emanating from the guy. The accident he lied to the Steelers and Tomin. He rode the bike without valid insurance or registration. Need I go on ? And you’re suggesting I’m haranguing the guy ?

    Why not given his actions and what went on with the McNulty’s bosses in Tahoe afterwards.

    Alan Parkins

  11. Chris

    Are you trying to suggest that once again this was a poor lapse in judgment by Ben ? I mean like I said earlier how many women will there to simply fall at his feet as he states who simply just want to have sex with the guy willingly ? I doubt you’d be of the same opinion now were it a female relative of yours who was the alleged victim ?

    Poor judgment one can excuse but twice in the same instance . How naive are you ?

    And that dumb a_s lawyer of his Ed Garland . “…Ben was in the accompaniment of two off duty officers from PA” . I bet those two guys are now on desk duty after the incident ! Probably the same two guys that were with him in Tahoe .

    Alan Parkins

  12. Chris

    In the state of Florida and a number of states around the country there’s no statute of limitation on sex crimes. And even if this investigation amounts to nothing. Do you honestly believe that Ben comes off smelling of roses . The guy is now a marked man and his stupidity has placed himself in that situation. There’s nowhere that he can now go and anything untoward happens . His name comes up and his a_s will be grass. Obviously you don’t heed that.

    I’m condemning the guy because of his stupidity and naivete !

    I doubt that this is what the Steelers wanted for their organization Did you ? Or are you of the opinion that it’s these guys’ rights to do as they please as long as it’s not in your backyard ? Either you take a stand against this or you don’t .

    Alan Parkins

  13. I wouldn’t take pics of any famous people out on the town. I may ask to get a pic with the celeb, if they’re a big favorite of mine. But, I have never bothered ‘celebs’ in clubs or elsewhere.

    Remember a few years ago when some loser in Pittsburgh was scamming the ladies by fronting as Big Ben? Are we now sure that it wasn’t really Ben?

  14. Al… I’m not saying he’s innocent or guilty. I have no idea what happened.

    Like everyone else, I think he used bad judgment.

    But there are people out there making to look a quick buck.

    Maybe he should enroll himself in some sex/anger management classes if he doesn’t understand that no means no.

  15. Al… It is definitely not within anyone’s rights, famous or not, to force themselves on another person. If that’s what he did, this time and last, then by all means lock him up.

    And yes, I’m sure the Steelers organization is very concerned about his behavior.

    Why else would they just have re-signed Charlie Batch to another deal?

  16. Ath… I can’t say I know that particular hospital. Are you suggesting I need to visit there?

    And the t-shirts are still in the process of being printed.

    Patience is a virtue… but last time I checked, I didn’t see you entering my basketball pool for your chance to win one.

    I mean, c’mon, Ath. Even I’M in a fantasy NASCAR league.

  17. Ath

    Another reason why Georgia is so prosperous ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!! They’re prepared to deal with the dregs of the earth.

    Alan Parkins

  18. Chris

    The Steelers’ front office as well as the NFL under Goodell have been a complete joke! Never mind the fact that the NFLPA (union) has remained ominously silent about this all.

    I see that Arenas gets a slap on the wrist from the court system in DC ? Donte’ Stallworth kills a guy gets 30 days in jail but only serves 24 and Arenas gets 30 days in a halfway house and probation ? WTF ? What’s wrong with that picture ?

    Never mind the fact that in an interview with a magazine , Arenas bragged about the fact that he had as many as 500 weapons in his possession at his home. Many of them ranging from Kalashnikovs to Glocks , Barrettas , Smith & Wessons . And the fact that they were unlicensed in some cases.

    What’s the public meant to think after this damn travesty ?

    Alan Parkins

  19. Chris

    I suppose there’s a bright side to this all ? Ryan Leaf gets 10 years probation and will serve no time for the moment but one screw and he’s the one who’ll be having his salad tossed by Big Sam and Quentin.

    There’s Always One Isn’t There ?

    So the Nets defeated the Pistons to avoid the ignominy of joining the Sixers as being the worst NBA franchise in terms of losses in a season ? There’s hope for them yet then ?

    Alan Parkins

  20. Al…

    I think a more apt comparison to the Arenas case is Plax’s.

    It’s my understanding that Washington’s gun laws are similar to DC’s.

    Plax did time. Why not Arenas? Better attorneys?

    Are you implying you don’t have faith in our legal system?

  21. Chris

    Dumars and the Pistons would like anybody who can ball ! I hear that they’ve placed a call to Calipari to see who on his team he’d recommend ?

    Gotta go as myself and the guys have got to get our MMA swerve on.

    My countryman Dan Hardy is taking on George ‘Rush’ St Pierre (holder) for the UFC welterweight title tonight. Should be a bang up MMA bout.

    I’m torn between the two as Hardy is a tae-kwondo specialist. St Pierre however is a karate aficionado and a guy after my own heart. However I’ve practiced both styles and I don’t delineate between the two. T

    Alan Parkins

  22. Chris

    What do you think that the graduation rate of Calipari’s Wildcats team will be ? Above 35 % or less than ?

    I hear Education Secretary Arne Duncan would like to meet with John Wall to check his reading level and IQ ?

    One and done it has such a nice ring to it don’t you think ?
    That’s atypical of most of the students that’ve played ball ‘J Cal’ from the get-go ! And that’s something to be admired collegiate athletics ?

    Alan Parkins

  23. Cal’s graduation rate will be lower than that, Al, especially if you consider how many do it in four years.

    You didn’t just write a post in tribute to David Bowie, did you?

  24. Chris

    I thought it only appropriate to put Bowie’s Let’s Dance on the college basketball piece I wrote. What’ve you got against Ziggy Stardust ? Bowie has written some great tunes. And not only that he’s got Iman on his arm . Now that’s a dude I can roll with !

    Still think I’m being harsh on Roethlisberger ?

    Ben hasn’t turned up for the team’s first offseason activities though it’s not mandatory many of the first string players normally turn up because the Rooney’s normally are there to meet and greet the players. Guess Ben didn’t run the wrath of their anger !
    Now comes word that Santonio Holmes in trouble here in Florida in Orlando of all places. He’s on the wrong end of a civil suit in the Orange County Court System .

    Holmes is alleged to have thrown a glass at a female in a nightclub in downtown Orlando.

    It seems the Steelers and the NFL have a growing problem on their hands. Do you think the Steelers’ front office is now feeling a little miffed ?

    Alan Parkins

  25. Nothing against Bowie, Al. His mark on music is indelible. Personally, however, I think his best latest work was his cameo in “Zoolander.”

    Perhaps the entire Steelers organization needs a refresher course in how to be a decent human being.

    Who’s coaching these guys on manners? Jesse James?

  26. Al… as long as Coach Cal and the programs that hire him allow him to bend the rules, he’ll always have the talent to be there at the end. The question is whether he can close with his ‘one and dones.’

    And I don’t think Tom Izzo is going anywhere. I do know, however, that Jack Klugman will play him in the movie.

  27. As public figures…we voluntarily give up most of our privacy…it goes with the territory.

  28. Chris

    I’m beginning to wonder whether or not they’re all dead from the neck up within the Steelers’ organization ? Their front office has become an embarrassment for not being proactive in dealing all three incidents thus far. And now you have Holmes being an idiot !

    As for Bowie I’ve always loved his music and some of his acting. In particular his roles in ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ and ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ ! Recently saw the ‘cop drama’ Brooklyn’s Finest with Gere, Cheadle , Snipes and Ethan Hawke. Pretty good but nowhere near as good as ‘American Gangster’ !

    Alan Parkins

  29. Chris


    The one thing I’d like to think about Tom Izzo is that he’s an intelligent man ! If he went to the PAC 10 to coach Oregon it’d be complete step down for him altogether !

    That’s like being given the choice to spend the night in bed with Halle Berry but behind the locked door is either Rosie O’Donnell or Joan Rivers. Quite obviously really what needs to be done ! I don’t care how much money the Oregon Ducks are said to be offering ! LOL,LOL ,LOL,LOL !!! Mind you Pitino might take ’em up on the offer if it gave him a chance to ‘lay the wood’ up there in Oregon and areas in between .

    Alan Parkins

  30. Chris

    Picture yourself as the Raiders’ GM ? Would you in all honesty give up a possible first or second round pick for McNabb , merely for one year ? Remember he’s in the last year of his contract and he seeks the guarantee of a long term deal. If they can’t work something out then they’d have to tag him as a franchise player and that would mean having to pay him close to or in excess of $20m per year.

    Both Brees and Peyton Manning are in the midst negotiating deals that’s going to pay them close to or in excess of $18-$20 million per year. And the franchise tag is worked by averaging out the top 5 salaries in the NFL at the respective positions. Is that a commitment you’d be willing to make to the player knowing the other problems on the Raiders’ team ? Defense sucks , O line sucks and their wide receivers are barely average at best !

    Alan Parkins

  31. Al… If I’m Oakland brass and I’m confident, even mistakenly, that my team has a chance to compete for a playoff spot, then I make that deal.

    That division is about to get a whole lot more difficult. San Diego should still be good for a while, Denver always is and as I’ve said before, don’t sleep on Kansas City. It’s only a matter of time before they’re decent again. They’re slowly putting the pieces together.

    Besides, Oakland’s been mismanaged since they went to the Super Bowl a few year’s back. Might as well remain consistent.

  32. Pingback: Sports Chump » Memorable moments of 2010: The SportsChump Year in Review

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