Jackson Katz at The Huffington Post sees Sunday’s Super Bowl as a “teachable moment” for parents with impressionable young kids who may be aware that Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has twice been accused of sexaul assault. He compiles a list of talking points that parents, coaches and mentors can use, such as “Your actions affect others,” “Leadership in sports means leadership on and off the field,” and “Men who mistreat women verbally, physically or sexually are never proving their strength or manliness.”
These are all important talking points. We do not mean to downplay them whatsoever when we say that Jackson Katz missed the most important one of all: “Do not allow your sons and daughters to grow up and become Steelers fans.”
Pittsburgh Steelers fans are the most obnoxious people on earth. I (Ben) have lived among them. Many are good friends who have no glaring defects or shortcomings. What decent and honorable people they may be by day, however, is outweighed and overshadowed when game time starts and they turn into a cocky, boorish, mullet-loving mass of insufferable hooligans who revere yellow towels like little Shrouds of Turin.
Fans of the organization — even some unbiased commentators — cite its “class” and “professionalism.” This is bull. The Steelers, like Big Ben himself, operate on loutish machismo and borderline thuggery. To the Steelers franchise and its repugnant fan base: While I take some solace in the fact you put the insufferable Jets in their place two weeks ago, I cannot tell you how dearly I hope Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers crush you in Dallas on Sunday. Because if they do not, we will never hear the end of such NFL “legends” as Hines Ward and why he is deserving of beatification by the Pope or some such nonsense.
Steelers fans, I wrote you a letter after Super Bowl XXXIII. The thought that you might be celebrating another championship just two years later fills me with disgust. But know this: No matter how many Super Bowls you might win; no matter how many Defensive Player of the Year awards Troy Polamalu racks up or how many inane Head & Shoulders commercials he shoots; no matter how many anger management classes James Harrison takes and how many headhunting cheap shots he continues to deliver; no matter what the outcome of Sunday’s game and what it will or won’t add to the great Steelers “legacy”; I will not allow my son to grow up and become a Steelers fan.
I won’t allow him to become a Bengals fan either, but this is beside the point.
You can have your Super Bowl trophies, Rooney family; what you will never get is a Vore in black and gold.
(Pirate black and gold, though similar in appearance, is both a much sadder and yet more dignified hue. It can at least be worn without shame.)
(Though he barely mentions the Steelers, Rick Reilly gives you more reasons to root for the Pack.)
(The Onion provides its characteristic insight into Sunday’s match-up with breakdowns of Big Ben (“Weaknesses: Getting people to like him”), Hines Ward (“considered a role model next to James Harrison”) and James Harrison (“good at murder”).)
(Finally, Benjamin Wallace-Wells explains how “Ben Roethlisberger Personifies Every Crisis Facing The NFL.” Subtitle: “Is The NFL For Cavemen, Or Against Them?”)