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NBC mum on Roethlisberger’s status for ACC

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Freedom, starring for one of the NFL’s most storied franchises and a future spot in the American Century Championship are at stake for Ben Roethlisberger.

A Milledgeville, Ga., district attorney is poring over investigative reports and testimonies after Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student last month. A decision of whether Roethlisberger will be charged is expected on Monday.

It is the second sexual assault accusation made against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback in less than a year. Former Harrah’s Tahoe employee Andrea McNulty filed a civil lawsuit against Roethlisberger last July, stemming from an allegation that she was sexually assaulted in his hotel room during the 2008 ACC in Stateline.

Roethlisberger has denied any wrongdoing, and the case has not been settled. The two sexual assault accusations in short time span – and one of them occurring during a celebrity golf tournament – may or may not be the cause of Roethlisberger absence from the current list of players accepting invitations to play in the 2010 ACC at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

“NBC only announces everyone who has accepted, not everyone they’ve invited, as an individual privacy consideration,” said Phil Weidinger, whose firm is a longtime promoter of the championship.

NBC officials declined to comment about Roethlisberger’s tournament status, but Weidinger said that participants have cretan obligations to meet. “NBC always seeks new and popular contemporary stars to keep the event fresh and to attract spectators, sponsors and television ratings,” he said. “NBC obviously notices who is popular with the fans and sponsors and that comes into consideration.”

Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winner, has played in the event every year since 2004, including 2006 when he was injured in a motorcycle accident a month before the tournament. If Roethlisberger is being outed because of behavior issues, he won’t be the first. After a 12-year absence, Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor returned to the tournament in 2007 following a number of scrapes with the law.

Former NBA all-star Antoine Walker was arrested during last year’s tournament after failing to make good on a $822,500 gambling debt from 10 bad checks that he wrote at Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Red Rock Resort.

Walker, who was a three-time all-star with the Boston Celtics, was allowed to finish the tournament, and he has since negotiated a repayment plan with the casinos. But Walker’s name is not on the latest list of accepted players released on April 5.

The tournament field repeatedly changes in the months leading up to the July event, but many stars accept invitations early because tournament spots are highly coveted. Already confirming invitations for the July 13-18 tournament are Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Ray Romano, John Elway, Mario Lemieux, Tony Romo and Bode Miller.

New additions to the field, an annual objective of NBC, which selected the participants, include Golden State Warriors’ rookie Stephen Curry, 300-game major league winner Greg Maddux, former Atlanta Braves’ all-star pitcher John Smoltz, Utah Jazz all-star guard Deron Williams and NFL all-pro defensive end Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings.

Tickets to the 2010 tournament are on sale. For more information, go to tahoecelebritygolf.com.

As of 4/05/2010

Troy Aikman NFL Hall of Fame QB

Jared Allen NFL All-Pro DE: Minnesota Vikings

Marcus Allen NFL Hall of Fame RB

Ray Allen NBA All-Star, Boston Celtics

Charles Barkley Former NBA All-Star

Brian Baumgartner Actor: The Office

Shane Battier NBA Forward: Houston Rockets

Jerome Bettis Former NFL All-Pro RB

Joe Carter Former MLB All-Star OF

Matt Cassel NFL QB: Kansas City Chiefs

Chris Chandler Former NFL All-Pro QB

Don Cheadle Actor: Crash, Hotel Rowanda, Oceans Eleven

Vince Coleman Former MLB All-Star OF

Stephen Curry NBA G: Golden State Warriors

Vinny Del Negro NBA Head Coach: Chicago Bulls

Jack Del Rio NFL Head Coach: Jacksonville Jaguars

Trent Dilfer Former NFL All-Pro QB

Herm Edwards Former NFL Head Coach

John Elway NFL Hall of Fame QB

Mike Eruzione Captain, 1980 US Hockey Team

Grant Fuhr Former NHL All-Star

Todd Haley NFL Head Coach: Kansas City Chiefs

Anfernee Hardaway Former NBA All-Star

Rodney Harrison Former NFL Pro-Bowler

AJ Hawk NFL LB: Green Bay Packers

Dennis Haysbert Actor: 24

Lou Holtz Former Notre Dame Head Football Coach

Oliver Hudson Actor: Rules of Engagement

Brett Hull Former NHL All-Star

Dan Jansen Former Gold Medal Speed Skater

Dale Jarrett NASCAR Driver

Michael Jordan NBA Legend

Brian Kelly Notre Dame Football Head Coach

Jason Kidd NBA All-Star: Dallas Mavericks

Kyle Korver NBA G/F: Utah Jazz

Jamie Langenbrunner Captain, 2010 US Hockey Team

Mario Lemieux NHL Legend

Kenny Lofton Former MLB All-Star

Greg Maddux Former MLB All-Star P

Bruce McGill Actor: Animal House

Jim McMahon Former NFL All-Pro QB

Bode Miller Gold Medal Winning Skier

Mike Modano NHL All-Star

Kevin Nealon Actor, SNL Alum

Jonathan Ogden Former All-Pro OL

John O’Hurley Actor/Host: Seinfeld, Family Feud

Carson Palmer NFL All-Pro QB; Cincinnati Bengals

Digger Phelps ESPN Analyst, Former Notre Dame Basketball Coac

Stone Phillips Former Dateline Anchor

Dan Quayle Former U.S Vice President

Dan Quinn Former NHL C

Rick Rhoden Professional Golfer, Former MLB All-Star

Alfonso Ribeiro Actor: Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Aaron Rodgers NFL All-Pro QB: Green Bay Packers

Jeremy Roenick Former NHL All Star

Ray Romano Actor: Everybody Loves Raymond

Tony Romo NFL All Pro QB: Dallas Cowboys

Mark Rypien Former All-Pro NFL QB

Bret Saberhagen Former MLB Pitcher/World Series MVP

Mike Schmidt MLB Hall of Fame 3B

Mike Shanahan NFL Head Coach: Washington Redskins

Sterling Sharpe Former NFL All-Pro WR

Ryan Sheckler Professional Skateboarder

John Smoltz Former MLB All-Star Pitcher

Ozzie Smith MLB Hall of Fame SS

Vinny Testaverde Former NFL All-Pro QB

Joe Theismann Former NFL All-Pro QB

Billy Joe Tolliver Former NFL QB

Jack Wagner Actor: Melrose Place

Wes Welker NFL All-Pro WR: New England Patriots

Ken Whisenhunt NFL Head Coach: Arizona Cardinals

Deron Williams NBA All-Star Guard: Utah Jazz


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