With perhaps the glaring exception of the states of Ohio and Maryland, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is generally a respected football veteran.
Yes, he most certainly has a dark mark on his permanent record after sexual assault allegations surfaced in 2009 and 2010, but charges were never filed, and Roethlisberger has kept his nose relatively clean outside of those incidents.
That being said, one of the reasons that Roethlisberger garners at least some modicum of respect is the work that he does with police officers.
The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation works closely with law enforcement.
Specifically, the foundation puts an emphasis on K-9 units and service dogs for police officers and firefighters.
“My Dad instilled in me a love and respect for animals,” Roethlisberger wrote on his web site. “This is a good way to combine that passion with a desire to support the police and fire departments, which deserve all the appropriate resources needed to protect our cities and neighborhoods, and allow these brave men and women to arrive home safely.”
So it should come as little surprise that Roethlisberger took time out of preparing for what will be a tough matchup in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars to send a message to the police.
— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) January 9, 2018
His tweet recognized Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, but this certainly isn’t a onetime occurrence.
In September, the foundation gave a grant award to the Lombard Police Department in Chicago to help replace a dog that was getting ready to retire.
“As our current Police K-9 Officer Chico retires, this grant will allow the Village of Lombard to continue our commitment to our K-9 program, which has been in place for more than 25 years. Our new K-9 officer will benefit the Lombard community for years to come. We certainly appreciate the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation’s ongoing dedication to local law enforcement throughout the country,” Lombard Police Chief Roy Newton said via the foundation website.
In 2016, the foundation distributed over $150,000 in grants to aid K-9 units for various police and firefighting communities across the country.
It has helped distribute over $1.65 million since 2007.
In the end, Roethlisberger’s gesture is just a refreshing departure from other current and former NFL players.
Take, for example, the difference between Roethlisberger and another quarterback who wore the No. 7 on his jersey, Colin Kaepernick.
While Kaepernick chose to kneel in protest against police, wear socks depicting police officers as pigs, and tacitly endorse numerous anti-police “charities,” Roethlisberger is helping the officers.
Big Ben led the Steelers to a 13-3 record in 2017, setting up a home game against the Jaguars in the second round of the NFL playoffs.
Roethlisberger struggled mightily in his last game against the Jaguars, throwing five interceptions in a 30-9 loss at home in Week 5.
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