Professionalism Not A Requirement in Pittsburgh

By Ryan Isley (Originally posted on 12/11/2009)

Losing changes people, or so they say.

That was evident on Thursday night in the visitor’s locker room of Cleveland Browns Stadium following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 13-6 loss at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, a game in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 18-for-32 for 201 yards passing and was sacked eight times.

After speaking with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in the interview room adjacent to the locker room, the media was informed that Roethlisberger would not be coming into the interview room but rather would be doing the postgame interview from his locker.

While this may seem like a small thing, most teams offer at least their head coach and starting quarterback to the media in the interview room immediately following the game, whether it is a win or loss.

When first approached by reporters in the locker room while sitting at his locker, Roethlisberger informed them that if they were waiting for him they were going to be waiting a while because he still needed to go see the doctor and training staff.

By the time Roethlisberger had finished getting dressed there was a sizable group of media members surrounding him.  He found a hole in the crowd and walked through it as he said “I told you I needed to go see the training staff.”

After seeing the training staff, Roethlisberger returned to the locker room area but instead of walking towards his locker where the media was waiting, he headed the opposite direction.

After mulling around for a few minutes he finally returned to his locker, where he took his time moving two chairs that were near him before fielding any questions.

You could see by the look on his face and by his body language that he did not want to be talking with the media.  This suspicion was quickly confirmed as he snapped a condescending one word answer of “yes” to the first question asked.

The interview would continue in this direction for a little over two minutes as Roethlisberger gave short answers to each question while looking at reporters with a disinterested look on his face.

If that was not enough, once the final question was answered Roethlisberger’s attitude and demeanor got even worse.

“Anything else? Thanks.” Roethlisberger said with a smug tone after the final question, adding “you got what you wanted,” once the cameras were off.

When the interview ended and Roethlisberger walked away, he immediately walked over to a member of the Steelers public relations or media relations staff.

“I hope they are happy. They got what they wanted,” Roethlisberger told the staff member.

Talking with media members after the game you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who defended the way Roethlisberger acted on this night.

Being upset about a loss is understandable, especially when it is a loss that puts a team’s playoff hopes on life support.

That being said, Roethlisberger knew when he decided to be an NFL quarterback that he was going to have good games and bad games. He also knew that the media would be waiting for him after each one.

When the team is winning, Roethlisberger is more media friendly and even does things such as host WWE’s Monday Night Raw.

When things are not so bright for the Steelers it seems that Roethlisberger does not know how to handle it.

Maybe ‘Big Ben’ could learn a lesson from the home locker room at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Despite being 1-11 entering the game, Brady Quinn has answered questions immediately following the game every game this season and has given the reporters more than short one and two word answers.

Even though he has two Super Bowl rings to his credit it seems like Ben Roethlisberger still has a way to go to become a true professional.

Follow me on Twitter: @isley23

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