View Full Version : Cincy has Big Ben Helmet Safety Night

12-15-2006, 08:00 AM

Friday, December 15, 2006

By Chico Harlan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tonight, a minor league hockey team in Cincinnati is, with the utmost respect, dedicating its latest home game promotion to a certain 6-foot-5, once-foolhardy, once-unhelmeted rival city quarterback whose misfortune -- again, with the utmost respect -- now figures to attract quite the walk-up crowd.

"For litigation's sake," Cincinnati Cyclones PR man John Hamel said, "please note this [promotion] has been referred to as Big Ben Helmet Safety Night. OK? I don't want us to get into any trouble."

No, the trouble was all Big Ben's. In June, Ben Roethlisberger wrecked his supercharged motorcycle and nearly lost his life. Now, he's fully healed -- a quarterbacking miracle, provided he's not facing the Raiders. And the Cyclones, members of the East Coast Hockey League, have adopted Mr. Roethlisberger's cautionary tale -- with, of course, the noblest of intentions.

"We're not taking a shot at him," Cyclones marketing director Sean Lynn said. "It may seem like it ... but ultimately our goal is to raise awareness for motorcycle safety. People get past the initial shock of this, and they see the lining to it."

On the Cyclones' official team Web site, an orange-and-yellow graphic announces the promotion. A little clip-art motorcycle image hovers up top. A generic black bike helmet -- "7" written on the side -- sits beside the message, "click for tickets." Based on league statistics, Cincinnati ranks last in the league in attendance, drawing 1,744 per game.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety will provide pamphlets on motorcycle safety to all in attendance, and every fan will receive a $50 gift certificate for the Cincinnati Plastic Surgery Group -- insurance, so to speak, should fans ignore the pamphlets' warnings. The first 1,500 children at the U.S. Bank Arena will receive foam Cyclone goalie helmets, not intended for actual safety, and two lucky kids will win the drawing for mini rocket-like motorbikes. They stand about 2 1/2 feet tall, Mr. Hamel said, and will come with the requisite safety equipment.

"So yes," Mr. Hamel said, "in reality, there will be two legitimate helmets given away."

The team informed neither Mr. Roethlisberger nor his agent, Ryan Tollner, of the promotion. The quarterback uses his popular nickname in connection with his Web site, his personal foundation and his barbecue sauce.

"So my reaction, I'd like to have a discussion with their PR department," Mr. Tollner said. "If it's for the sake of promotion, some entity stands to profit from Ben's likeness, and that's not legal. I have no problem with the promotion of motorcycle safety, but not at the humorous expense of what Ben went through."

Mr. Lynn hatched the idea sometime in September, after a promotional planning session with his marketing department -- "a whopping two people," he said, counting himself.

Nobody at Cyclones headquarters rode motorcycles, but they valued the chance to promote safety.

After all, the team, for one promotion, had dropped papier mache turkeys from the rafters. On Thursdays, it hosts intermission contests in which fans run the length of the ice, intermittently chugging beers. (Participating fans sign consent forms promising that they won't drive home. Safety first.)

Many fans in the Cincinnati area still recall rooting for Mr. Roethlisberger. The quarterback grew up in Findlay, Ohio, about 2 1/2 hours north. He played college football at Miami of Ohio, in Oxford, some 45 minutes northwest. Still, much of the goodwill disappeared when Mr. Roethlisberger emerged as the Steelers' franchise quarterback. In January, playing in Cincinnati, he and his teammates defeated the Bengals in a first-round playoff game.

This is in poor taste if you ask me. If anything they should be asking Ben if he minded them doing this, or if maybe he'd like to sponsor the event or something but there's no way I see this as anything but in poor taste, and if you ask me, somebody named Houzurmama, Johnson, or Lewis had atleast something to do with this, regardless of what sport it is !

Raising awareness is one thing, and I fully support wearing helmets when riding motorcycles, bicycles, whatever, but bringing Ben into it?? :nonod:

House of Steel
12-15-2006, 09:48 AM
I swear I am getting so sick of the city of Cincinnati and their poor taste for respect. You know this will come back and haunt the Cyclones and the Bungholes if they are behind this inexcusable idea to provoke Ben. **** THEM ASSES!!!

12-15-2006, 10:06 AM
How about a Chris Henry Pledge to Not Drink and Drive Night?

House of Steel
12-15-2006, 10:13 AM
You mean Deltha O'Neal Don't Drink and Drive Night too. :hilarious:

12-15-2006, 12:23 PM
You can get any lower than this... someone should step in and put a stop to this because this is complete disrespect! It's not like their stupid "Who dey?" chant!

12-15-2006, 12:51 PM
Just shows you how low that whole damn town can get when the minor league hockey teams even get into it !! :banging:

House of Steel
12-15-2006, 06:53 PM
I say this would **** Ben off enough to want to fry them bastards at Heinz Field South. TIME FOR SOME KITTY PATTIES ON THE GRILL!!!

12-15-2006, 07:29 PM
How about a Chris Henry Pledge to Not Drink and Drive Night?

:lol: :lol: :lol:

The Pens should have that!

Anyway, even if this is truly meant with the best intentions, you can't help but remember what that Tennesee radio show did with the Tommy Maddox stretcher race thing. Hopefully this gets the Steelers even more fired up for that last game. :helmet:

12-15-2006, 08:11 PM
Classless. I cheer for a team in that same league.(The Johnstown Chiefs). And they haven't done anything that classless.:cursin:

12-15-2006, 08:19 PM
I have no doubt that this is an intentional dig on Ben. I hope he does hear about it and gets really PO'd. Revenge could taste REALLY sweet come New Years Eve!!!! BTW, to add insult to my injury...Johnstown is my hometown team! :cursin: