Get The Facts First

The Steelers are usually a big deal around these parts, but you know something involving the team is really huge when even the Monday morning news analysis features the story. Such is the blowback from the pre-game comments of receiver Hines Ward regarding the decision which kept Ben Roethlisberger out of Sunday’s game in Baltimore. It was a game the team desperately needed … and they did not get.

Their third straight loss.

Hines Ward: Making headlines before the ball was snapped in Baltimore Sunday night.

Usually, this would cause enough consternation for “Steeler Nation”, but before the game Hines Ward spoke with NBC about the late word that was not going to play. Having suffered a concussion last week, he was cleared to practice all week but at the last-minute, did not.

The insinuation in the interview Hines did was that it was Ben’s choice not to play and the decision was not fully supported by the team. Ward went so far as to say there was “50-50 split” in the locker room whether that was the right decision. He said, given the magnitude of the game that he would have played with a concussion and perhaps Ben should have as well.

What Hines was not told prior to his comments was that it was the team doctors who made this decision … and one the team rightly followed. It was not Ben’s choice. Coach Mike Tomlin did not tell his players about that decision … and Dixon started the game which was clearly to the consternation of  some players, like Hines Ward.

Before we make this into a rift, let’s look at this situation for what it is: a player speaking up without complete information. So often, we make judgements ans people without having all the facts. It’s become a cottage industry in the media but rarely do those pundits comments cause them the trouble that it has caused Ward.

Look, I know Hines wants to win and won’t settle for anything less but does he really believe his quarterback would bail on the team in such a crucial spot? Maybe this all falls on Tomlin for not taking the time to tell his team? We really don’t know what happens behind closed doors, but we have now seen what happens when dirty laundry is aired.

Hines should take heart. He’s not the first person to speak before knowing all the facts. Anybody remember what our Commander-in-Chief said when he first learned of the African-American professor detained by police after breaking into his own home? He accused the officers of acting “stupidly”.

I guess we should get ready for a beer summit on the South Side …. right?

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