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T.O. suggests race was an issue in Roethlisberger suspension

In their weekly T. Ocho Show on Versus, Bengals receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco debated the suspensions imposed on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Eagles quarterback Mike Vick.

The question was teed up for them with a horrible (and arguably defamatory) summary of the facts from Kevin Frazier, who characterized Roethlisberger’s suspension as six games reduced to four “for sexual assault” and that Mike Vick “got a year for dogfighting.”

First of all, Vick got three games, not a year. Sure, he didn’t play for two years before that. But only because he was in custody of the federal government.

Second, Roethlisberger never was arrested or charged with any crime. Ever. He wasn’t suspended for “sexual assault,” but for a pattern of irresponsible behavior that led to accusations that resulted in a lawsuit in Nevada and an unprosecuted claim of sexual assault in Georgia. Vick pleaded guilty to multiple felonies under federal and state law after engaging in a six-year gambling and dogfighting operation, which involved the admitted killing of dogs deemed unfit to die while fighting other dogs.

Anyone who can’t see the inherent differences between those two situations simply doesn’t want to see the differences.

Owens apparently doesn’t want to see the differences.

“This is not his first or second time in trouble,” Owens said of Roethlisberger. “Some years back, he had the motorcycle accident, too. And all this good stuff. So now this is compounded with that. So he has a rap sheet.”

How does he have a “rap sheet”? He never was arrested for anything. Even the motorcycle accident, while incredibly stupid given that he wore no helmet, involved no violation of the law or legal responsibility of any kind. The accident wasn’t his fault, and Pennsylvania law declines to force helmets onto heads too stupid to choose to protect themselves with helmets.

T.O. wasn’t done. “Here’s Ben Roethlisberger,” Owens said. “Quarterback. Caucasian. For the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is his second time with allegations for sexual assault.”

To his credit, Ochocinco seemed to sense that nothing good could come out of the topic, especially since his team plays the Steelers twice this year. It’s almost as if Ochocinco didn’t want the issue to be discussed at all, but that he was trumped by Owens, who seems to want to make everything about race.

We’re not so naive to think that because our country elected nearly two years ago an African-American president all racial biases have been eradicated from society. But Owens’ knack for finding a racial angle appears to be a crutch that he uses whenever he finds himself faced with a factual situation that he’s neither willing nor able to fully understand and process.