Roethlisberger case brings national attention to DA

Today people across the country know who Fred Bright is.

And the prosecutor who opted not to charge Ben Roethlisberger is getting positive reviews: For his thoroughness, and for the "Grow up" scolding he gave the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.

"Never have two more appropriate words been uttered about anyone," columnist Ron Cook wrote in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

ESPN Radio's Jason Smith praised Bright on his overnight show. Good Morning America interviewed Bright on Tuesday to recap what he said Monday.

Asked at Monday's news conference whether the lack of sufficient evidence would leave a bad taste in his mouth, Bright said everyone could be criticized for their actions and there was too much drinking that night.

Then he spoke directly to Roethlisberger.

"If he were my son, the best way I can answer that is, ‘Ben, grow up. Come on, you're supposed to stand for something. I mean, you're the leader. You should be a role model. You don't need to put yourself in this position anymore.' ...

"It is unclear, it is foggy, what exactly happened in that bathroom, but if I was there coaching him I'd say, ‘Ben, you don't need to do this. You don't need to put yourself in a position when you're alone in this dingy bathroom with you and this girl. That's foolish. Grow up. You need to be a role model. You need to be a role model for your team, your city, the NFL. You can do better.'

"And I hope he's learned something from this. I really do."

Bright, 54, has been the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit district attorney since 1994. The Emory and UGA School of Law grad has a reputation for straight talk, not for seeking publicity. He declined to comment throughout the sexual assault investigation before Monday's news conference.

"Fred is going to tell you the truth and he's going to be very straightforward about it," said Peter Skandalakis, district attorney for the neighboring Coweta Judicial Circuit.

"It does not surprise me that Fred evaluated the case, and decided it based upon the evidence. Nor does it surprise me Fred would make that comment to Mr. Roethlisberger."

While Bright made national headlines, that was not his goal, Skandalakis said.

"He doesn't look for the spotlight," Skandalakis said. "He's a career prosecutor who really abides by our professional codes of responsibility."