It seems like it’s been forever since Ben Roethlisberger was involved in high-profile sexual assault allegations. Since then, the atmosphere surrounding those kinds of events has changed somewhat. Situations such as those surrounding Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Darren Sharper have given the issue a much higher awareness and seriousness, especially in the NFL.
Cincinnati sports radio station 700 WLW missed the memo on that. The Bengals will host the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend and with such a high-profile game comes increased scrutiny on players like Roethlisberger. WLW’s game plan for rattling the Steelers QB includes running a fake Big Ben warning for women during broadcasts.
“This is a severe Ben Roethlisberger update from 700 WLW.
“The Tri-State currently under a severe Big Ben warning from now through early Sunday morning,” the spoof begins. “The Steelers quarterback has been spotted in the downtown Cincinnati area. All females ages 18-40 are to use extreme caution, especially if heavily consuming alcohol. Males should also be on the lookout just in case.
“If you see Big Ben and he flashes Little Ben, you are asked to report it to authorities immediately.
“He poses the greatest threat to 18-to-40-year-olds, especially those with boob jobs in the downtown Cincinnati area. You are safe if you live in Butler or Clermont counties, pretty much anywhere in Kentucky and most of southeast Indiana.”
WLW tells TMZ that they plan on running the warning Friday and Saturday until the Saturday afternoon game.
The problem with the joke is less what it does to Roethlisberger (though it should be noted that no charges were ever brought against him) and more what it says about his accusers and women in general. Making light of sexual assault in this way does harm because it desensitizes us to its effects. There may be ways to make those kinds of jokes but they require a deft hand that focuses the joke directly on the alleged assaulter and not on the alleged victims who may “deserve it” because they have “boob jobs.”
Not that WLW had good intentions, but it’s the kind of bad joke that makes no one look good. Not Ben and certainly not the radio station.