Fashion sense makes no sense

ERIN NICKS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:51 PM ET

Who hasn't done something stupid, when it was in our best interest to do something safe?

Everyone has - from the slightly careless to the vaguely dangerous. We do it out of laziness, disinterest or habit. It's human nature.

But what if you did it because the safe alternative wasn't aesthetically pleasing?

Can you think of any other reason why Ben Roethlisberger wasn't wearing a helmet?

Roethlisberger wrecked his motorcycle last Monday when his bike collided with a car in downtown Pittsburgh. The Steelers QB flew into the windshield, causing serious head injuries. It took seven hours of surgery to reconstruct his jaw, using a plethora of small titanium plates and screws. Roethlisberger also suffered facial lacerations, lost teeth and endured a mild concussion.

In short, he was extremely lucky.

Roethlisberger has refused to wear a helmet in the past -- a proclamation that never sat well with the Steelers. They even warned their young star in writing that he might jeopardize specific portions of his contract if he continued his reckless behaviour.

There's no logical reason why someone wouldn't wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle, unless they didn't like the way it looked and felt.

Kind of like visors in hockey, actually.

Apples and oranges, you say? How so?

Safety should be paramount for any athlete, during or away from play. And what has been the major complaint of those that refuse to sport visors in the NHL?

They fog up. They obstruct peripheral vision. And to some, they suggest weakness. They can be construed as an accessory that suggests a lack of physical fortitude.

Pennsylvania law doesn't require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, just as the NHL doesn't demand that all players wear visors, regardless of the numerous high-profile injuries we have seen. Laws or rules, it makes no difference. If they're in place, you have to follow them, and if not, it becomes a question of personal choice.

There have been memorable attempts. Tie Domi tried it (it provided an additional piece of equipment for him to remove during a tilt with Shane Hnidy). He later told his family that he felt that he couldn't perform his job properly while wearing a visor.

No one expected Domi to sport his visor during the brawl -- and battling has always been a huge part of Domi's job description. So what's the problem?

Why does safety have to be an option in cases like these? Why wouldn't you want to do everything possible to protect yourself, thereby protecting your career and future paycheques?

There are even some who believe that wearing visors would lead additional reckless stickwork, due to a sense of invincibility. Do motorcyclists ride with haphazard abandon as soon as they put on a helmet? A certain mentality is required when you choose to take part in a risky activity, regardless of whether it's a high-speed contact sport, or riding a motorized bike. A piece of plastic won't make a player feel invincible, especially if the stick infractions are called with legitimate frequency.

Any more excuses?

Ben Roethlisberger and any other risk-taking athletes need to admit one thing: Their shirking of safety equipment is largely based in superficial appearances and aesthetics. You can complain that you don't like the way your helmet or visor looks or feels, or you go without, and get your jaw filled with titanium, or destroy your vision.

Let's see how good you look and feel after that.

HOCKEY HARVEST: How many more stories will be written about Eric Staal's sod-farming family in Thunder Bay? Surely people are beginning to believe that sod farming is a leading industry in my home town. Trust me, a greater number of Thunder Bay residents are largely interested in growing a more lucrative type of grass.

CHEERS TO YOU: Two Hamilton Tiger-Cats cheerleaders were dismissed after a ribald appearance on The Howard Stern Show. The women openly discussed their sexual experiences and danced provocatively for the host. If they had worked for the Renegades, undoubtedly Lonie Glieberman would have marketed the appearance, and dated them both for a short period.

STANLEY CUP SKIN-NY: A picture of Ice-T and his wife Coco posing with the Stanley Cup can currently be found on NHL.com. Coco's dress features a cutout middle panel held together with tiny gold straps, and exposes an eye-popping amount of flesh. It's so lascivious that the hockey unintelligent might view the photo, and assume the AVN awards had revamped their trophies for this year's ceremony.

erinnicks@yahoo.ca


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