PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Two-time Super bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is currently under investigation for his involvement in an illicit dwarf tossing ring, according to a report soon to be published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is alleged to have staged several dwarf tossing events between 2005 and 2008 in a West Pittsburgh pub he purchased shortly after signing his rookie contract in 2004.
Roethlisberger's name was discovered during a search of documents subpoenaed from ShortDwarf.com, the largest dwarf talent agency in the United States. ShortDwarf had been under investigation for several weeks, suspected of running afoul of federal RICO statutes by illegally transporting dwarfs across state lines.
“We are immensely disappointed that such such a noteworthy figure as Ben Roethlisberger would engage in such a barbaric and dehumanizing activity as dwarf tossing” said Sean Prestin, Vice President of Public Relations for the Little People of America.
Although dwarf tossing is not technically illegal within the state of Pennsylvania, several attempts have been made to curb its popularity, which peaked in the late 1980's, including the very zoning restrictions which led to the search of Roethlisberger's pub late last week.
The search found clear evidence of dwarf related recreation, including a custom three lane alley for bowling nights and a large east wall overlaid with Velcro target boards designed to “catch” dwarfs tossed like darts, according to the Allegheny County Sheriffs department.
When asked to comment about an unconfirmed report that several dwarfs were being housed on site, sleeping in dresser drawers and bathing in dish basins, a spokesman for the department issued a “no comment.”
However, Prestin and the LPA do not doubt the authenticity of the report.
“The kinds of people who participate in this depraved pastime treat little people like props, not human beings.” Prestin even insisted that in some rare cases ill-performing dwarfs had been put down by the event organizers.
“Oh yes. They'll call them all sorts of names... Like 'Shortcake' or 'Tiny' or even 'Ooompa-Loompa.' Sick bastards.”
Telephone messages to Roethlisberger and his agent Ryan Tollner were unreturned. Dan Rooney, longtime owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers offered support to his beleaguered quarterback.
“Ben is the leader of our franchise and has always been a solid person on and off the field. We're confident that when all is said and done he'll be standing tall over these ridiculous accusations.”
Mr. Rooney rejected several opportunities to re-word his support of Roethlisberger.
When reached for comment, NFL spokesman Brandon Teabow said, “Dwarf tossing? Is that even illegal? You know, after the whole dogfighting thing it doesn't really seem like that big a deal... What? Oh... No! I wasn't making a joke! Stop laughing... Hey, don't write that down!”