Some Unsolicited PR Advice For Ben Roethlisberger

By Michael K Reynolds

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger requesting a trade away from the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Like most fans in Steelers Nation, this Sunday news flash by reporter Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network struck through the heart as a dagger. But for me, as a longtime professional in marketing and communications, it also drew another sharp response.

Ben. Friend. What are you doing? That is a major public relations disaster for you. Haven’t you learned anything?

So it was great relief throughout the day to see that not only Ben refuted the report, but so did his agent and even Art Rooney II.

But was there some splinter of truth to the report? Probably. And that’s why I am offering this unsolicited advice. Directly to Ben.

Because you are my favorite Steelers player, the one whose jersey I have worn most every Sunday morning game since your rookie year. I cheered when you first got in trouble. That was for wearing “PFJ” on your shoes. Yes, even having three letters signifying “Play for Jesus” on your shoes will catch you heat with the NFL’s uniform police.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned of the “alleged” incident in South Lake Tahoe years ago at a celebrity golf tournament. Since I lived only forty minutes away, I can tell you with firsthand knowledge of how that news saturated our communities for a period of years. In a city of our size, many people knew the “alleging party” and the attorney who represented her.

Still I wore my number 7. And yes, they shouted the same names out to those of us who wore your jersey as they did to you Ben.

Then came the “alleged” offense in Georgia. That was the time where, as a father of three daughters, I hung your jersey in my closet where it gathered some dust. But I took it out again when it looked as if you had changed your ways. And I wore it to support you at sports bars and opposing stadiums. And yes, Ben, they shouted out those names to us some more.

But the Rooneys stood by you all along. They gave you another chance and backed it up with their wallets. And contrary to some of the allegations, I don’t believe they did it merely because you’re a great player. A future Hall of Famer.

It’s because they believed in giving you another chance. Because they believed in the man you could be.

And I believe you’ve become that man. Because of the support of your family. Because of your faith. And because of the Rooneys.

So here is your unsolicited public relations advice.

Continue to say what you’ve been saying. You love Pittsburgh. You love the Steelers. You love the Rooneys. You would never leave. And mean it.

Even if some of the fans turn on your and treat you with disrespect. Even when the team insists you take a pay cut. And even when they cut you when you get old. The worse it gets for you, the better it will get for you to stay rock solid and fully committed. Go down with the ship.

Through it all. Never leave the Steelers and never want to leave the Steelers.

It’s free of charge. But that is 100 percent good public relations advice.

And while we’re on the subject, give your much-maligned offensive coordinator a big hug in front of the cameras.

Because whether his name is Bruce Arians, Todd Haley…or Bozo the Clown juggling flaming balls on a unicycle…it makes no difference. Whether you have to throw five yard passes instead of eighty yard passes, it makes no difference.

You got another chance, brother. You should ooze with gratitude.

Thirty years from now, when your grandchildren come to your house they’ll want to hear about your glory years. They’ll be thinking about your Super Bowls, but you’ll know the most pivotal moment in your career.

Who your offensive coordinator is or whether you played on a team that went 0-16 three years straight during a period of transition won’t make a difference.

But what the Rooneys did. What the fans did. What Pittsburgh did.

That was all of the difference.

About the Author

Michael K. Reynolds
Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic and author of the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland series.
  • Paul


  • Paul

    Ben doesn’t care what we think.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Sometimes we say things that can be taken out of context and some (Ian) will run with it as his name is now all over the universe with this huge news right or wrong. When you speak to the media all the time things will be said that will be taken out of context and things will happen you just have to “clarify” for all of us what you said and us as readers need to be able to sometimes sift through the garbage.


    I’m sure there is some truth to it…probably to light a fire under Colbert to get better players around him. On top of OL, Brown is the only legit star caliber talent now…Miller is serviceable but if we are honest, he’s not the same guy and it drops off quickly after him.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    ARE you out of your stupid mind???? Rat por makes a unsubstantiated report because he knows he can hide behind the source crap and not have to prove it. which is not the first time he has had something stupid to say and you write a lot of crap , reading between the lines, it’s Ben’s fault. You must be as good at your job as RATPOR IS HIS.

  • joed32

    Ben says it’s not true, his agent says it’s not true, Art Rooney says it’s not true but you choose to believe Rapoport?

  • HarryBackside

    I also think there was truth to the original story. When ever I hear the words “unnamed source close to the team”, I immediately think agent.

    If I were giving Ben advice, it would be to address the actual subject of Rapawhores report, which was “Team sources expect Ben to ask them to explore possible trade options”. The subject of this claim is the team, and their expectations, not anything Ben has said or done. It sucks that he is in a situation where he needs to address a charge that amounts to “when did you stop beating your wife?”, but its out there, and he needs to put it to Bed.

    For all the talking, no one on Ben’s side has said “Ben will not be asking the Steelers to explore trade options”. We’ve gotten a lot of “Ben has always said he wants to finish his career as a Steeper”, or “Ben hasn’t asked to be traded”. Those are probably truthful answers, but they remind me of answers given in a Presidential debate, because they don’t specifically address the actual accusation that was made.

    Its semantics, but we see public figures frame answers like this all the time, so that later on, when the original claim actually becomes a reality, they can say that that they weren’t lying when the original claim was made. If Ben ends up requesting a trade this off-season, he can say something like “I never said I wouldn’t be interested in checking out trade options.”, and he would be correct.

  • HarryBackside

    They never said that Rapawhores report wasn’t true. They made statements about things related to the subject of the report, without addressing the specific claim made in the report. It’s the same crap we here out of politicians mouths.

  • Alan Felicia

    Wow, this story still has some legs.
    IMHO, non story and I’m huge Roethlisberger fan since day April 24, 2004. Let’s move on, talk about the Washington Redskins, and how the Steelers can improve.

  • joed32

    You’re right Ben didn’t say untrue, he said it’s BS.

  • Johnny Loose

    Ben is a Steeler for life. He would look absolutely terrible getting sacked in any other uniform.

  • Chris Wilkes

    Yep, I agree. If there’s any truth to that garbage it more then likely came from someone in the organization not Ben.

  • RW

    Bell is a future star in the making, DeCastro is grading out as the third best Guard in the league and Will Johnson is the real deal at fullback (they just refuse to use him correctly). Give the FO time.

  • Gloria Burke

    Oh, that made me laugh..It’s true, how fun would it be going down the hard way 60+ times in a season? I think Ben has always been stand up about supporting his linemen even tho they let him down (literally) many times. When I first heard the story being scuttled about, I thought it was BS and was glad when all three retorts came out almost immediately,


    Bell…looks like a good player in the making to me…love WJ and really agree he’s not being used well.

    More time…Rome wasn’t built in a day either…I’m with you there. The OL has been a problem for 5+ yrs and they committed several high picks to fix it the last 4 yrs.

    Weapons…honestly, this group doesn’t put fear into any DC.

    I know they haven’t been top 10 picks, but clearly PIT has many holes because a lot of high (1st, 2nd, rounds) draft picks have not panned out…if they have to invest a #1 pick on a OL…it would be hard for me to keep Colbert in his position.

  • RW

    Yeah it would be a shame to have wasted so many OL picks. I do think Adams will be a very good RT in time. I think the wasted pick was really Gilbert, IMO. I’m just glad that the gators who played with Pouncey are not at Florida anymore. I don’t know what the FO was thinking listening to him with Gilbert and Rainey.

    Anyway, if I were GM, I’d resign Velasco and move Pouncey from C to guard. I know he’s an all-world center, but you don’t need an all-world center to have an all-world line. I’d rather have a great guard than a great center anyway. If that were to happen, I wouldn’t mind drafting a future (potential) all-pro left tackle if we had a top 10 pick. I think that other positions could be addressed in the 2nd-4th rounds.

  • Paul W

    Stop with all this talk about how Holy the Rooneys are !
    Trade Ben and see how well we do !
    Of course all you Rooney stepfords will think everything will be fine, just like it is since they brought in Haley

  • Reader783

    Paul, we get it. You comment on every single thread with something negative about the Steelers. We get it, you are mad.

  • george

    Couldnt have said it any better. I hope Ben reads this.


    Adams…I’m feeling that way too. Pouncey/Valesco, great minds think alike…Pouncey is more athletic than Valesco, but not as durable, and I don’t think they lose anything at C really…Pouncey Valesco DeCastro works for me.

    LT…the only 2 guys really rated top 10 are Matthews & Lewan and of those two Matthews seems to be the #1 guy. Both are top 10 likely.

    I would probably go that route too, but only for the top 2 guys…a player I really like is Mike Evans, TXAM, has the size, speed and hands to be a star in the NFL. I think PIt will get a 3rd & 5th for Wallace and Lewis which they have to use (cannot be traded I understand) so maybe they will be able to hit at least one early impact player.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Doesn’t Arizona need a QB?