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Steeler stories

Fan's plan to impersonate QBs to get girls fails

Posted: Tuesday July 19, 2005 2:02PM; Updated: Tuesday July 19, 2005 3:47PM
Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson impersonated Ben Roethlisberger and Brian St. Pierre, but looks more like a young Bill Parcells.

Perhaps my plan to buy Navy whites in order to meet girls shall have to be put on hold. While I always understood impersonating a man in uniform could earn me a knuckle sandwich from a legit serviceman, I never thought that putting on a well-ironed pair of pants and serenading a woman with the Righteous Brothers could land me in the slammer.

According to authorities, a Pennsylvania man scored dates with two women by impersonating Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Brian St. Pierre. If you're planning on stealing someone's identity, I'd say St. Pierre is the logical candidate. Impersonating Roethlisberger, the Keystone State's most heralded citizen, makes as much sense as Prince Harry going to a Halloween bash dressed as an SS Officer.

There's plenty of precedent for celebrity athlete dress-up. In 2000, Utah Jazz center Olden Polynice got busted for impersonating a police officer with a pituitary problem. And during his contract year, Celtics center Mark Blount impersonated a legit NBA center netting him a $42 million contract only to reveal that he was actually ... Mark Blount. I even know a guy who flashes a knock-off Buccaneers Super Bowl ring to bypass the velvet ropes at swanky clubs.

Last fall, Brian Jackson, 31 allegedly channeled his inner Brian St. Pierre, who was third on the Steelers depth chart, in order to charm a woman named Julie Valo. This worked nicely for Jackson who, according to an affidavit, really immersed himself in the character. He talked about his "teammates" with Valo and even went so far as to pose for photographs and sign autographs for the neighborhood kids. Kids will believe anything.

His elaborate yarn began to unravel when, at his suggestion, she tuned in to a Steelers game and saw the real St. Pierre. Jackson called her after the game, and she confronted him about not being St. Pierre, to which, according to the affidavit, he responded, "that she was crazy and that he looks different on television." Rather than coming clean in an effort to save face, Jackson continued to harass Valo, allegedly going so far as to impersonate first-string quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the phone and then vouching for St. Pierre. There was no word, in the affidavit, if Jackson sculpted a bad goatee before dialing her number.

Then, in June, according to a second woman, Mary Groft, a man in sunglasses and hat (authorities believe it was Jackson) came up to her at a pizzeria and told her that he was a friend of Ben Roethlisberger and that she was Big Ben's "type of girl." The woman coughed up her number and later, on the phone, agreed to a date with him. The faux Roethlisberger arrived at her house with an "autographed" football and proceeded to sign her neighbor's authentic No. 7 jersey. However, when Groft returned home from her date, that same neighbor showed her a newspaper article indicating that her gentleman caller was an imposter.

Men will be happy to know that if Jackson gave up the ruse at this point he would have been in the clear. As someone who, in small town bars, often morphs into an Olympic cross country skier, I was very relieved to hear Jackson's criminal charges were due to his actions after his true identity was revealed. In both instances, after the jig was up, Jackson allegedly continued stalking the women until they were forced to contact the authorities, which led to Jackson being charged with criminal mischief and two counts of harassment.

Big Ben writes a bad blog. About the Steelers recent draft picks he writes: "Not only do I think we got great players, I think they are great men." He asks us to guess what his favorite kind of pie is (apple), which brand and style of peanut butter he favors (JIF Extra Crunchy) and writes such gems as "I hope that everyone had a great week ... TJIF [sic] right everyone?" Not knowing how to spell TGIF is fun for the whole family.

However, if you sort through all the colloquial chatter, you'll find one ominous note. On February 22, after gracing us with his season ending thank yous (the Lord, my parents, the Plasphol family, Brent Lob, the Elevee girls, Spanish and Mario...), he writes, "for all the people out there that are on the site saying that they know me better then anyone else, no one out there should believe anything unless it comes from me." Looks like Jackson's not the only one who dreams of being Pittsburgh's portly QB.

I guess the moral to this one is when telling tall tales at bars, make sure they're not too tall.

On Friday, Brian Jackson was arraigned in Pittsburgh City Court and released on his own recognizance.