Those close to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger say he has made a concerted effort to improve his off-field behavior and yesterday won over his his remaining critics by apologizing for all of the raping he has done over the years.
"I have never been charged with a crime," said Roethlisberger. "But you hope that if people see you are trying to make positive changes in your life, be a good person and not put yourself in bad situations, they will give you the benefit of the doubt. But even that doesn't win over everyone. So for all the people who still don't like me, let me say: 'I am sorry for all of the raping I have done in the past. I'm going to do my best to not do more raping. I hope we can all move past the raping now. That's all I will say on the matter.'"
The quarterback knew he would face some difficult questions at Super Bowl Media Day and sought out the advice of coaches, players and close friends on how to handle them.
"They said all I could do is just try to be gracious and present myself as the good guy I am trying to be," said the quarterback. "But I soon realized there were still some skeptics out there, so I just decided to audible to doing a 'My Bad on the raping.'"
"That's all I wanted to hear you say," said the reporter who asked Roethlisberger a question about his offseason incident. "We're good now. Thanks!"
Many other critics of the quarterback also said his apology is enough for them to move on, as well.
"I wish he was in prison," said one Packers fan. "I'm not clear on what charges exactly, but short of imprisonment or literally cutting a pound of flesh off of him, I'm totally cool with him saying what he did today. It was really the only thing out of his mouth that I would accept."
While Roethlisberger won over many of his critics, he unfortunately lost all of his supporters.
"Oh. I never thought he actually raped anyone," said one Steelers fan. "I just thought he was a jerk who had put himself in some bad situations. A legit rapist? Yeah, I can't root for that guy anymore."
Roethlisberger's raping apology has also caused the Milledgeville (Ga.) police to re-open the case against him.
But the quarterback said he truly did not rape anyone, he just thought saying he did would convert some of his critics.
"I just want to move past all of this," he said. "I hoped to do it today. But I guess I need a few more years and a few more titles like Kobe Bryant. Then no one will care."