Ben Roethlisberger might have promised to be a role model, but the district attorney who declined to press sexual assault charges stemming from a drunken evening at a nightclub said it was the actions of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, not his words, that would prove it.
"You can do better," Ocmulgee, Ga., Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright said today on "Good Morning America." "Everybody makes mistakes and life and we all learn from them hopefully."
Roethlisberger, dubbed "Big Ben" by Pittsburgh Steelers fans, had been accused of a sexual assault last month by a 20-year-old Georgia College and State University student who claimed the assault took place in a Milledgeville nightclub.
Steelers' President Art Rooney II said in a statement that his star player would now have to focus on regaining the respect and trust of team's fans and live up to the leadership that is expected of him.
"During the past few weeks, I have met with Ben on a number of occasions, not only to discuss this incident but also to discuss his commitment to making sure something like this never happens again," Rooney said in the statement.
Bright said that due to scant physical evidence and conflicting statements from the student, he could not prove a crime had happened.
"You get a lot of he said, she said," Bright said, "but it's unclear. It's foggy, and I couldn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt."
The woman, who Bright said told police after the incident she didn't know if they even had sex, wrote a letter asking that Roethlisberger not be charged, but Bright said it made little difference in his decision.
"Without that letter, I still feel we did not have enough to prove him guilty, at least of the charge of rape," Bright said.
The student's lawyer, David Walbert, wrote to Bright to say that his client did not want to prosecute because "a criminal trial would be a very intrusive personal experience."
"This decision does not reflect any recanting of our client's complaint, but simply a realistic, personal decision as to what is in her best interests," Walbert wrote.
Pittsburgh legend Terry Bradshaw said Roethlisberger needs to behave from now on.
"In my opinion, he has got to realize who he is," he said. "He is an elite athlete in the National Football League."
Bright made headlines Monday, when, at a news conference, he told Roethlisberger to "grow up."
"We are not condoning Mr. Roethlisberger's actions that night," Bright said Monday. He added, however, "We do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes."
During a news conference, Bright spelled out a confusing mix of stories that emerged immediately after the complaint was filed, and said alcohol played a significant role in the night's events.
When she was first asked by a police officer if she had been raped, she answered, "No," Bright said, citing police reports. When asked if she and Roethlisberger had sex, she said, "I'm not sure," the district attorney said.
Bright said that when the student was interviewed later, when she was sober, she described a different scene.