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Who Killed Trumpgotz on The Dan Lebatard Show

(Disclaimer – I know Stugotz will not read this due to length, someone please give him a cheat sheet… I get the show)

By way of introduction I have been performing stand up comedy for a few months over 15 years when I started midway through law school in Washington, D.C. as a much needed stress release.  I have been making sketch videos on YouTube since 2009 and have been podcasting for just under 7 years.  I have been doing impressions since 6th grade when my Jean-Claude Van Damme impression became a favorite among my friends.  My stand up career was largely started on impressions, both hacky (Schwarzenegger, DeNiro) and not so hacky (Owen Wilson, Jack Bauer, to name a couple), but as life experiences, good, bad and ugly accumulated, my stand up became a place for me to explore my thoughts about my life and the world.  As a reuslt I began to steer my impressions to my YouTube channel.  It was from that YouTube channel that I would find a way into The Dan Lebatard Show, ESPN’s most downloaded radio show/podcast, first in 2014 and then in a much more substantial way starting in 2016.

The Dan Lebatard Show is my favorite podcast. It prides itself on its anti-sports show sports show, much to the humorous chagrin of co-host Stugotz.  They speak intelligently and nuanced on sports and culture, they get great guests and have a great roster of regulars (the great Bomani Jones, Greg Cote and Stan Van Gundy to name a few that are not Pablo Torre or Marty Smith – I may “get the show” but I still don’t get the appeal of “Marty Party”). And then there is the crew inside the show, the “Shipping Container of Frightened Refugees.”  Chris Cote (the most underrated member of the whole show IMO), Billy Gil (if sports radio were Moneyball ESPN might view him as a better value Stugotz), Roy Bellamy (the quietest member of the crew, which makes his contributions, even “Roy’s Realm” which grew on me quickly, admittedly because of Chris Cote’s background, pleasant surprises) and of course, Mike Ryan, the undisputed leader of the SCoFR and almost their representative in the triumvirate of Dan, Stugotz and Mike – sort of the Westbrook of the Shipping Container and the Bosh of the Big Three.  The most appealing thing of all about the show when it came to me, a comedian who loves sports, was the fact that humor is almost on equal footing, if not above sports, in terms of the qualities the show most valued.  They also incorporate fan content to a very large degree, creating loyalty and interaction, if not attribution, integral in building a great brand in 2018.  I was one of those fans who contributed and was given attribution, likely because I do this for a living (or did) and because it was wildly popular with the show and its audience.  But it was shut down (twice) without warning, explanation or merit and that is what this will be about.

My name is J-L Cauvin and if you have not heard of me that is understandable and one more reason why I have to write this.  It is my relative anonymity that made my dismissal so easy, even though my work was much more well known than me.

2010-2015

I became aware of The Dan Lebatard Show, much like many non-Floridians, when Lebron James signed with the Miami Heat in 2010.  A few days after Lebron’s Decision, a friend sent me a photo montage on YouTube set to the Lebatard rant.  I must have watched it 20 times at least. It was hilarious.  Shortly thereafter I began listening to the show and by 2011 I was a regular listener. 5 days a week downloading the podcast.

In 2014 I created a web series called Louis CK’s Comedy Academy, where I impersonated various comedians teaching assorted comedy disciplines at a fictional school.  If you count the 30K views the preview video got, the series generated around 70K total views – certainly not viral, but also not nothing.  One of the videos in the series was George Lopez teaching Latino Comedy.  When Dan went off on how he didn’t like George Lopez’ comedy later that year I figured this was my opening to contribute to the show and get a little bit of shine myself.  And Dan did play it on the air and for my work I received a Dan Lebatard Show t-shirt.  Other than my Late Late Show t-shirt, which I foolishly gave to a woman I was dating, incorrectly assuming I would get many more late night TV spots and the associated swag that accompanies said spots, the Lebatard shirt was the only shirt I had received marking a comedy accomplishment (distinguishing it from the Salvation Army store room worth of comedy festival t-shirts I have accumulated in my apartment throughout my years performing).

I continued devouring the show through 2015 when a certain orange man announced his candidacy for the presidency by calling Mexicans rapists.  I had already been working hard on my impression of Donald Trump, and getting some work with it, when in 2016 Stugotz said something that made me think “who does that remind me of?”

The Birth and (First) Death of Trumpgotz

Trumpgotz was born on September 23, 2016. I sent it to the show after hearing Stugotz go off on Chris Bosh’s health issues with the Miami Heat. The certainty and inconsistency of Stugotz talking about medicine and pro sports felt so Trump-ish that I decided to record the quotes, word-for-word, as Trump.  The result was a lot of Twitter praise and followers and a video that now sits at just under 15K views.  I made several more for the show that Fall to the same effect.

But as the Podcast Lord giveth, He taketh away.  Around February 2017 Stugotz began ignoring my tweets and the show stopped playing the sound on air, despite the consistent hits and praise for the subsequent submissions that did make it to the air.  I just assumed the show no longer wanted them and was moving on. I was disappointed, but after over a decade in stand up I was used to things going up and down and usually ending down.  I kept listening to the show and just hoped I could find another angle or break to keep my career mildly relevant.

Dan Resurrects Trumpgotz

To my surprise in June 2017, after many months of not being on the show, Dan asked on air (slight paraphrase), “Whatever happened to Trumpgotz? Those were funny, right?  Put it on the poll, ‘Was Trumpgotz one of the funniest things on the show?'”  Over 11k responded to the Twitter poll (not an exact science I know) and almost 9K said yes.  On air Stugotz offered a reluctant finger point at Mike Ryan, who it seemed clear had unilaterally decided Trumpgotz was no longer funny.

Mike Ryan is the glue guy of The Dan Lebatard Show – he can have moments of virtuosity (if his Mel Kiper as Beyoncé scouting reporter was truly off the cuff it was genius) and he is generally well versed in pop culture, sports and (sigh) music that he can have starring moments on the show, as well as all the excellent production off air he does.  But, as a stand up comedian who has worked with many funny people who are comedians as well as not, there is always a slightly thirsty aspect to his humor. His impressions, praised by Dan, tend to either be remixes of Frank Caliendo (the Mel Kiper technically just sounds like someone who studied Caliendo as a cheat sheet) and his others tend to be some version of Vincent D’Onofrio in Men In Black (which did get Mike a little hot under the collar on an episode) – Andrew Luck-D’Onofrio, Demon of D’Onofrio Debate – gee I wonder if Mike has an impression yet of Wilson Fisk on Daredevil! He enjoys a sort of fiefdom on the show as the resident comic genius, that is not really a threat from celebrities, whose level he does not compete at, nor is he threatened by the hundreds of one-off contributions from fans.  But a regular contribution from someone at least in the talent and stature zip code (though not number of Twitter followers) might pose more of a threat to his ego.  And when it comes to comedy bona fides it isn’t a contest.

But with the rest of the show and the audience providing overwhelming contrary opinion Trumpgotz was back!  I began cranking out almost weekly videos and was getting direct messages from Stugotz when he thought a particular rant during the day (knowing I was an out of town podcast listener) might be a good one for Trumpgotz. Hank Azaria, voice over artist extraordinaire called my Trump impression “astounding. Ten out of ten.” on the show.  That probably represented the high water mark for Trumpgotz.  Hank Azaria – Queens born, went to Tufts University, worth $75 million was someone I could identify with.  I am Bronx born (both outer borough), went to Williams College (fellow member of the NESCAC) and I have $750 dollars in the bank. For him to give me that type of praise only solidified, even if only for one impression in my comedic arsenal, my hope that there was still hope for me in comedy.  By mid 2018 I thought, with my new stand up album, Thots & Prayers, recording later that year I might have a chance to make a move with the show. What if, based on two years of popular and unpaid contributions, the show would grant me one hour, in studio, in character as Trumpgotz to offer hot takes, etc. in exchange for a couple of plugs for the new album. Sort of a junior version of Azaria’s 3 hours to promote Brockmire? Sure it was a long shot, but it also was not absurd to think it a possibility.  With the loyalty and size of the show’s audience and their enjoyment of Trumpgotz I really thought 1000 sales might not be outrageous, which could yield me $15K.  Not Taylor Swift numbers, but when you have atrophied your Georgetown Law degree and poured everything you have into a career, that kind of money can give you a respite from living month to month.  Already an unlikelihood though, July 4, 2018 made it an impossibility.

Dead on the 4th of July

In June 2018 (I think) Donald Trump was ridiculed for mumbling/not knowing the words to America The Beautiful or the National Anthem. I was contacted by a fan of The Lebatard Show who got my information from Mike Ryan (sidenote – as of this typing the only two people affiliated with the show that do not follow me on Twitter are Mike Ryan and the show account, which I believe Ryan has access to or control over). The fan wanted to know if I would record a Trump-inspired version of America The Beautiful for his podcast.  Disclaimer – the song referred to Hillary Clinton as a c*nt and to President Obama as a monkey.  As someone who believes Trump is a clear cut racist I viewed these as words simply in keeping with a character.  Dan always says he wants to have Quentin Tarantino on the show and presumably he has heard the language that Tarantino has written and does not ascribe it to Tarantino the person. Similarly, Alec Baldwin (and his vastly inferior Trump impression) had become chummy with the show as of my last listening and yet he has a history (and present) of real life action that is less than positive.  But at the time I thought nothing of it – sure the language is offensive and wrong, but it is in keeping with the racist person I am portraying.  I sang the song and was actually quite proud, considering I am not a singer, of being able to sing and maintain the impression. The podcaster/fan was very pleased and thankful (I did it for free) and he posted it to YouTube on July 4th.

Within 3 hours (and less than 200 views) of it going live I got a direct message from the podcaster. He told me that Mike Ryan had said the following (these are second hand quotes from the podcaster that I am copying from my DMs):

  • Mike Ryan isn’t happy about the sketch.
  • He asked me to take it down.
  • Said it’s going to be a major headache for him. That he can’t be associated with it.
  • He seems like he is at a point where if we don’t take it down he wont work with you anymore

These were all messages sent to me within one minute of each other.  I then told the podcaster to please take it down and he did.  Less than 200 views and I am guessing Disney and ESPN brass were not among those viewers to rush to a video making fun of Trump by relatively unknown Miami-based podcasters with no affiliation to ESPN or Disney.  But Mike Ryan certainly was one of those less than 200 people to rush to the video.  The man whose impressions were Diddy remixes compared to my Trump had placed me in contact with the very podcaster whose offensive song would supply a (questionably) valid reason for him to ban me from the show (versus his arbitrary and solitary decision to stop playing my audio in 2017 – now he had cause, either coincidental or manufactured).  I am not a conspiracy hack and don’t even actually think Ryan could be this cunning, but it is worth at least pondering.

I submitted 2 other videos in the next two weeks, believing that my quick action at the behest of Mike Ryan was enough to maintain my relationship with the show.  They were ignored by every member of the show I tweeted them to and were never played, despite actual requests every week since July for Trumpgotz on the show.  And Trumpgotz was not among the 30+ impressions nominated for best impression during the show’s annual awards in August.  But in case you think my content is too toxic for the show, the day Greg Cote leaked Dan’s engagement I tweeted the show, leaving out one person intentionally but sending it to Billy, Roy, Chris, Stugotz and the show. It read “Stat of the Day: Dan’s fiancée was not born when Die Hard came out.”

Without attribution Mike Ryan made the joke a few minutes later on air.

Trumpgotz was a popular segment on the show. So who would kill it? And why?

Hurting Comedy

So I sit here in a midtown Manhattan Starbucks (I guess transitioning from my career as failed stand up comedian to future failed screenwriter?) finishing this. My (double) album, Thots & Prayers is better than I had ever hoped and even has a 5 minute bit about the OJ Simpson documentary, partially inspired by Dan Lebatard’s commentary on it (if you were a fan of Trumpgotz you can go get it on iTunes or other platforms if you want to show some support, but I don’t expect many of you to and that is not the purpose of this writing). But it has also sold poorly in relation to my previous releases.  I can’t help but be slightly bitter than the 1% chance I had to have it blow up through an ESPN platform was snuffed out, by what must be pettiness.  Could I be wrong?  Could Mike Ryan’s second snuffing out of Trumpgotz simply be because he was playing it safe and did not want a 150 view video of someone in character to bring down the most popular podcast at ESPN? Sure. But it’s unlikely.

I have dealt with a lot of indiginities and disappointments in my comedy career, but this may have been the most disappointing. I have no management, no agent so almost everything I have accomplished in my comedy career has been talent, work, and a touch of luck in times that tweets have been read.  And the idea that someone who doesn’t even have skin in my game could see fit to shut you down simply because he can is gross.  And the fact that Dan, Stugotz and the rest of the shipping container has yet to 1) bring up Trumpgotz and 2) respond to a single tweet in 4+ months referencing or requesting Trumpgotz makes me think Mike Ryan has already poisoned the well with regards to me.  When he arbitrarily shut me down in 2017 he left it open to Dan remembering on air how good it was. But if he had just cause (I was a toxic comedian using foul language and slurs) then everyone would be on notice to ignore Trumpgotz.  Once again – maybe I am wrong, but then what the hell is the alternate explanation for shutting down a popular segment that cost the show exactly nothing?

This may sound like ravings of a crazy fan or a bitter comedian, but my writings have covered injustices and bad practices across entertainment and media for years, obviously with a focus on stand up comedy.  But the Lebatard Show meant a lot to me as a listener and as a contributor.  The show seemed to have a lot of respect for comedy. In fact, whenever Dan interviewed a comedian in the last few years he always seemed to be concerned that PC culture, etc. might be making it more difficult for comedians to practice their craft.  Well Dan, if you read this… the difficulty is coming from inside the house.

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Comedian As Trump Filling Out March Madness Brackets Is…

News outlets were reporting earlier this month that President Donald Trump would not be filling out a March Madness bracket for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament, as had become a sort of unofficial tradition with President Barack Obama, a hoops aficionado.  Well, those reports might as well be classified as “fake news” because Trump, thanks to comedian J-L Cauvin, has made a video predicting his Final Four, champion and, as a special bonus, his own “One Shining Moment.”  Trump has Duke, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky as his Final Four, but trust me, you will want to watch this anyway:

Get J-L’s new stand up albums KEEP MY ENEMIES CLOSER &  ISRAELI TORTOISE on iTunes, Amazon & Google.

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The Blueprint 46: How To Ruin Careers of Athletes;…

Fresh off winning MVP in the World Baseball Classic, Robinson Cano has made a blockbuster move changing management from Scott Boras, baseball’s super agent, to Roc Nation, an entertainment agency affiliated with rapper Jay Z, that is getting into sports management.  The immediate concern here is that the last high profile rapper to enter the sports management game was Master P, who got Ricky Williams to sign a horrible contract with the New Orleans Saints.  That contract was almost entirely incentive based, which was quite fair, and also quite stupid when no one else in the league was as bound to incentives as Williams.  Williams then went on to become a weird, marijuana loving dude who occasionally played football at a high (and proficient) level.

But rest assured, Jay Z is no Master P.  Master P was actually a decent basketball player.  Besides Jay Z claims that he made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee, which apparently impressed Cano enough to make a horrible business decision, much to the chagrin of Derek Jeter, who believed he had made the Yankee hat more famous than Jay Z.  Typically an agent’s job is to make you more famous in your field, not to claim that he is bigger than you in your chosen field, but that is why Jay Z is great and surely about to change the game!

Jay Z has announced that he intends to become a certified agent, while Cano is now officially certifiable. 

Cano has said, in the last year of his contract with the Yankees and surely heading towards a big payday as one of baseball’s superstars, that he wants to take a more active role in his endeavors on and off the field.  This should be music to the ears of all 30 major league baseball teams.  What would you rather do – sign an athlete going into a huge contract who is singularly focused on his craft, or a guy who is looking to open up all off the field endeavors?  Like Dwight Howard, but with a less marketable smile, smaller shoulders and a thick Dominican accent!  This movie roles and championship rings are practically writing and minting themselves!

As a former lawyer, former athlete and current entertainer to dozens of people nationwide, I have put my skill set to work and come up with the list of career choices and opportunities that Agent Z will most likely be developing for client Cano. Enjoy:

  1. Cano will be encouraged to sign with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  After all, if Jackie Robinson listened to Jay Z, according to all the commercials for 42, then why woudln’t Jay Z send his first big client back to Brooklyn!
  2. Cano will record a new Salsa album on Jay Z’s new Latin label Yay-Z records. It will go plantain.
  3. After Deron Williams suffers a knee injury, Jay Z will encourage Cano and the Brooklyn Nets to a agree to a 3 year, $10 million dollar deal to play point guard.
  4. Jay Z will secure a 50% discount off of all merchandise at the Barclays Center Fan Store for Cano
  5. In Cano’s contract he will have exclusive naming rights for Beyonce’s second child.
  6. Cano will re-sign with the Yankees only if Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind replaces New York, New York.  That is if Brooklyn does not sign him first.
  7. Cano’s contract will stipulate that Cano will never be brought up to any Nas’ songs, nor will Nas ever be played at Yankee Stadium.
  8. Stipulated in Cano’s new contract is that all Yankee hats must be worn slightly to the side and must, at all times, have a New Era sticker on the brim.
  9. Jay Z will receive a modest 45% of all of Cano’s earnings.
  10. Cano will be featured on Jay Z’s new album cover called The Blueprint 46: How To Ruin Athletes.

Cano can be expected to have career lows in batting average, RBI and focus starting in 2014.  At which point he will start negotiating with Justin Timberlake’s new management company.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes

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Kobe Beef

Last night I watched the Boston Celtics get out-hustled and out-played by the Los Angeles Lakers.  As if it wasn’t enough to see Kobe Bryant have a solid game I was forced to swallow my own vomit several times as I watched Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar make quality contributions.  Rumor has it in the off-season they will be filming a buddy cop flick called Euro Trash and Shrek Ears.  But as much as Kobe has played the villain in my NBA story for the last 4 years, last night it got personal.  Because of the Laker victory, they will now play Game 7 on Thursday, my first night in Atlanta at The Punchline.

Like an insecure girl Kobe prefers to be surrounded with less talented people.

The Punchline is a big club and a chance for me to atone with Southern audiences for a minor debacle in Birmingham last Summer.

Backstory – Last Summer I featured at The Stardome, a huge club owned by some nice people.  6 of the seven shows went somewhere in the B- to B+ range, but one show, the Saturday show led to only the second time I have been boo’d on stage (the other time being Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn – a disgrace to higher education and the Civil Rights’ Leader’s memory, whose student attendees thought it was “boo every comedian that dares step on stage – like Amateur Night at The Apollo, without the credit of The Apollo. To put it in television analogies – if my comedy career was the show Homicide – Medgar Evers College would be Adeena Watson).  I said nothing offensive at The Stardome – I was just neither BET nor rednecky enough for the racially diverse, intellectual bottom feeders that occupied a few of the tables at the club that night.

So going to Atlanta was to be a bit of redemption for me and I actually booked the gig on the strength of my Always Be Funny/Glengary Glen Ross spoof video, which also restored my faith that YouTube was not entirely useless for my career.

But then the Lakers won because they seemed to finally discover that Rajon Rondo has the jumpshot of Shaquille O’Neal.  So that means Thursday night’s show will be empty of just about all basketball fans.  Now my routine has very fewbasketball references in it, but there is a correlation between people who are aware of basketball and people who enjoy my comedy.  Those people will not be there Thursday because Kobe & Co. won.  So who is going to be there Thursday night?  Southern comedy fans who do not like basketball.  Hmmmmmm, I just hope after the show I don’t have to tell anyone, “In New York they call me Missssster Cauvin!” 

Sidney is a bit darker than me, but I hope an NBA-fanless night doesn't lead to this.

But the obvious point is that Kobe Bryant is to blame.  (I just wish LeBron James was at Game 6 and walked up to Kobe a la Maximus to Commodus in Gladiator and said, “The Time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end.” Because Kobe should know that when the LeBron James era will begin the moment LeBron gets a teammate(s) that is/are not terrible or fu*king his Mom…

Kobe and Lebron as envisioned by Ridley Scott.

Sidebar – For those of you that do not know – LeBron James mother is rumored (strong rumors) to have slept with LeBron’s bipolar, shotgun-carrying teammate Delonte West.  However, not a word has been uttered on this by ESPN , which is rather frightening.  My theory is that ESPN has marching orders from Nike not to say another word (what would ESPN be without Nike athletes and Nike advertising dollars?).  The story was discussed all over the Internet and on The Huffington Post, but not a peep from the premier sports news network in the world about one of the 10 most famous athletes on the planet?  Just makes you think if people including “The People’s Sports Reporter” Bill Simmons a/k/a The Sports Guy can be silenced (he gave a token – “absolutely false” comment on the story even though when I was in Cleveland everyone seemed to believe the story) by corporate titans (my friend Mike told me this has all the makings of a Michael Mann sports themed sequel to The Insider), what chance is there that news isn’t corrupted all the time by even bigger corporations (obviously it is).  And if you think this has nothing to do with sports – LeBron James disappeared against the Celtics after the rumors started flying, so unlike Tiger Woods’ Blasian fallace, LeBron’s story actually has sports-related salaciousness.

Jeffrey - did Nike cover up the Delonte West fu*king Lebron's Mom story? I MEAN ARE WE NEWSMEN OR ARE WE BUSINESSMEN?

Back to Kobe- Is there anything more absurd than Kobe’s wife and future stripper daughters (when your Mom is a hot gold digger and your Dad is a wealthy rapist aren’t your employment prospects limited psychologically?) standing in the tunnel at halftime to greet him with adoration before he goes into the locker room?  “Look Nike and McDonald’s I am done with the butt rape and the cheating because here is my family right here.  But at the same time I am so driven to win that I take time out of halftime to greet my family?”  Anyone else’s wives or girlfriends meeting them in the tunnel?  Did Michael Jordan have Juanita waiting at halftime? No – he was too busy thinking about winning and killing the other team.  Now he might have had sex with his opponent’s wife in the tunnel as a competitive advantage, but he would never waste time to kiss his own wife mid-game. 

So now for this horsesh*t I have to see potential fans not show up tot he first show in Atlanta.  It looks like me and the Celtics are going to have to put in a strong effort Thursday to make sure Kobe does not win.  Odds are the Celtics will have a tougher time than me.

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Big Ben, Michael Wilbon & Why I Have To…

It is has been an up and down month in sports for me.  First there was my NCAA bracket and having to root for Duke.  Well, Duke made the Finals and all I need was for them to lose for me to win $1400 and 1st place in my pool or, if they won, they could still help me by scoring a lot of points which would have earned me over $100 and 3rd place in my pool.  Instead Duke, in classic Another-Reason-For-Me-To-Hate-Duke-Basketball form managed to win AND score just enough points to win a WNBA playoff game, causing me to lose the 3rd place tiebreaker and walk away with no money and the pain of a Duke Championship.

Baseball season has also started, with my usual apathy for Goldman Sachs, a/k/a The Wall Street Bombers, a/k/a The New York Yankees.  I’m sure by August I will care again, but right now I just get annoyed at all the people waxing nostalgic about the opening of baseball season like it’s still a team of neighborhood boys made good. 

Then the Utah Jazz caused me great joy and frustration.  My favorite team since the age of 7 provided me with the greatest live sporting event I’ve ever attended with a thrilling 140-139 OT victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Kevin Durant of the Thunder had 45 points, but the Jazz won with  just over one second left.  Then, in classic fashion, the Jazz proceeded to lose their season finale (thanks in part to the sensitive, free agent contract-conscious, former Duke Blue Devil Carlos Boozer’s abdominal strain – never trust a Duke Blue Devil) going from a cozy 3 seed at home against the maligned Trailblazers and a second round match-up with the paper tigers known as the Dallas Mavericks, to a 5 seed on the road with match-ups against their two toughest opponents (if they win in the 1st round) Denver Nuggets and then the Los Angeles Lakers).  The Lakers’ Lamar Odom might as well call the Jazz Khloe he fu-ks them so shamelessly.

But all these highs and lows have taken a backseat to the biggest story affecting a team that I am a fan of – The Pittsburgh Steelers.  Their star quarterback, two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger, and soon-to-be-played-by Peter Stormare in a Lifetime movie has turned out to be at best, a man with a rich frat boy’s sense of entitlement or at worse, a serial rapist.  It of course brings to mind Kobe Bryant, who I think was the last comparable athlete, to be charged with a sex cime of this magnitude.

At best - a rich frat boy sense of entitlement. At worst - a rapist. Either way - not a fan.

Now the Kobe Bryant case seemed to go much farther through the legal system than the Roethlisberger case has.  The rumors around the Kobe case were that he attempted to and may have successfully forced a back door slam dunk on the woman in Denver.  Now I have only met one woman who reacted with good humor (disturbing on many levels when pondered) at unexpected anal penetration, but this is not the time to re-hash my routine, so even considering that the woman went to Kobe’s room of her own free will, her back door is her back door and no is still supposed to mean no.

But Ben Roethlisberger does not even have that benefit (which of course raises the possibility that this is an incident representative of that time honored tradition in America which is the only crime worse than raping a white woman is being black and raping a white woman – not looking to address that here).  He seems to have, in the very least, acted aggressively and inappropriately towards this young woman and with the assistance of security guards.  I am not as troubled by the allegation that his security guards prevented her friends from getting to the alleged victim, because let’s face it – rock stars and athletes have had sex in all sorts of places and she could have been consenting to sex in a VIP lounge with a famous athlete.  Of course, she could have also been raped, which would make the bodyguards unknowing (or knowing) accomplices.

If this were a one time incident, the benefit of the doubt would be with Roethlisberger, but he has been accused of sexual assaults before.  Normally I don’t condone prostitution, but in Ben’s case it is better than the alternative.  Roethlisberger, in the very least, is placing himself in unsavory and compromising positions and deserves to be suspended by the league.  The Steelers have already said they will be suspending him because the organization, maybe worth a billion, still operates with a family business mentality and that is commendable.  It is even more troubling when you consider some of the “offended” fan base of the Steelers (after all, at Heinz Field last year was where I heard Joshua Cribbs of the Cleveland Brown get called a “Nigger” by a white Steeler fan and no one seemed to bat an eye). (Click below link for that Heinz Field tale)

https://jlcauvin.com/?p=1212

So if that fan base is troubled, you know Big Ben is in big trouble.

But as I was saying before, Roethlisberger has a few options to sex crimes – he could have girlfriends in every city, so that he has variety, but with women he can trust a little better than strangers at a bar.  He could hire prostitutes.  Let’s face facts – these high end services cater to men like him and convicted of using a prostitute is a preferred alternative to even the social stigma of being acquitted of serial rape.  Or he could have a meeting with Derek Jeter and forge a discreet vaginal domination mentorship where he learns how to have successful sexual relations without crimes by him or extortion by her being committed.

But with these options available to a man of Roethlisberger’s stature, as well as previous incidents that should have been warnings, one must wonder, perhaps this is what Roethlisberger wants.  Rape after all is a crime of power, not sex.  So if Ben, given his competitive success, is into power and domination, then sexual gratification would not satisfy this lust.  Michael Jordan exhibited his OCD level competitiveness through excessive gambling, Tiger Woods through excessive relations with menstruating waitresses and perhaps Ben really is a man whose drive for success has a criminal and vile manifestation away from the playing field.  I am not a psychologist, but it makes sense to me. 

I think the Steelers’ reaction has been appropriate, especially if they decide to trade Big Ben.  Even if Roethlisberger is innocent of all charges, he is obviously conducting himself in an embarrassing fashion and that alone gives the Steelers and the NFL a right to punish him to protect their corporate image.  But rape is in my opinion the worst crime there is, but perhaps that is why condemnation is coming more cautiously.  I am still surprised that allegations (and subsequent criminal conviction) of abuse of dogs by Michael Vick seemed to generate more outrage than Ben Roethlisberger’s alleged sexual assaults on women. 

And on a side note, as a fan of Pardon The Interruption on ESPN, I have also found Michael Wilbon’s defense of Ben Roethlisberger reprehensible.  I am a big fan of PTI and a big fan of Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.  But it seems Wilbon, unlike the curmudgeon Kornheiser, has spent too much time cultivating a hybrid existence of serious journalist and Ahmad Rashad-buddy relationships with superstar athletes that he now sees fit to defend, or at least omit criticism, of athletes he favors.  Tiger Woods is a glaring example.  Gilbert Arenas was another to a much lesser extent, but Wilbon’s Roethlisberger commentary has been awful.  He said flat out that he does not think Roethlisberger should be suspended.   He is clearly a Big Ben fan and that is fine, but the lack of a criminal conviction cannot be the only acceptable standard for allowing a player to continue business as usual.  And Wilbon scoffing at Roethlisberger’s loss of a beef jerky endorsement at the end of a show this week was equally insensitive.

Michael Wilbon's commentary has been a huge disappointment during the Roethlisberger coverage.

All in all, it seems like it will be impossible for me to don a Roethlisberger jersey again.  To be fair I do have a Karl Malone jersey and he has not always been a model citizen, but he is a far cry from serial rapist (not to mention my inspiration for pursuing basketball).  And even if Ben is innocent of all criminal liability I’d still rather be associated with a black, redneck power forward than a jerk with a rich frat boy sense of entitlement.

I think I've retired this jersey. And not in a good way.