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Food Maker Drops Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger
Ronald C. Modra | Sports Imagery | Getty Images

Maligned Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has lost one of his two endorsement deals.

PLB Sports, a Pittsburgh-based company that makes Big Ben’s Beef Jerky, said it terminated its contract with the quarterback this morning.

“We have a morals clause in the contract,” said PLB Sports president Ty Ballou. “We met with with our attorneys this morning and we feel like we have the right language to be able to terminate him.”

Over the five years of the relationship, Ballou said he sold hundreds of thousands of bags of beef jerky with Roethlisberger’s endorsement. He anticipated that the two would have a relationship for the life of his career.

Yesterday, a district attorney in Milledgeville, Ga., said he would not pursue criminal charges after the quarterback was accused of sexually assaulting a college student in a nightclub bathroom. Roethlisberger is scheduled to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell today to discuss his conduct.

“There was just too much of this off the field stuff,” Ballou said.

The company has pulled Roethlisberger off the Web site and has immediately stopped production. Ballou said that retailers who have the jerky in stock can decide what they want to do with the product but the jerky that Ballou has in stock will be destroyed.

Said Ballou: “It’s a lot. It will cost us a good deal of money.”

Roethlisberger’s other endorsement deal is with Nike . The story was broken on Twitter by New York Times writer Judy Battista.

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