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Pick Your Topic Tuesday: Bengals Behind Bars

Cincinnati Bengals logo

Image via Wikipedia

My thanks to Don in Mass for his winning topic suggestion of why the Cincinnati police blotter is so full of Cincinnati Bengals. If you haven’t checked out Don’s blog yet please do. Like me, Don has a very liberal view of life, and is not afraid to speak out for what he believes in. Don also has an uncanny knack for finding political cartoons that are hysterical!

Without Further Adieu, I give you

Bengals Behind Bars

With the arrests of Pac Man Jones, Cedric Benson, and Marvin White last week, the collar count for the team since 2000 has climbed to 34. While the Bengals way of conducting their business as a franchise is old, stale, and not conducive to winning consistently (meaning they suck), Bengals players manage to find creative ways to acquire chained bracelets from police across the country. Ranging from simple arrests for DUI or drunk and disorderly, to scratch your head type incarceration for drunken boating, and providing alcohol to underage girls, Bengals players have displayed a level of imagination for breaking the law that is only rivaled by the creativity displayed in how they lose games.

So why has there been so many Bengals arrested in the last ten years? Frankly, there is no one predominant reason. However, there are 3 reasons that when explored and combined, give a fairly clear insight on what’s going on here in the Queen City.

 The Bengals are a microcosm of character issues in the NFL. Since 2000, nearly 350 players in the NFL have been arrested. The Bengals numbers of arrests represent 10% of the league’s problem children. Until Commissioner Roger Goodell took measures to clean up the league a couple of years ago, talent has always taken priority over character in pro football. The NFL is a pressure packed, win now sport, and if Charles Manson could throw a football 80 yards with pin point accuracy, you can bet your ass a desperate GM of some team would take a chance on him. The Bengals are no different, particularly since owner-

 Mike Brown loves the bad boys. Throughout the league, owner Mike Brown is known as “the redeemer.” He is notorious for signing talented players with huge character issues at discount rates. He is a penny pincher extraordinaire, who thinks he is running a half way house for wayward players, which is not a good thing in Cincinnati since-

 The police in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky aren’t exactly color blind. Of the 34 arrests, 22 two were in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Of those 22 arrests, 2 of the players were white. Cincinnati is a city of fairly harmonious integration and diversity, yet the police have been rightfully accused of prejudicial racial profiling for years. In the 90’s that institutional bigotry nearly tore the city apart; a young African American male was shot in the back and killed while running from the police. Why was he running? Because he was scared shitless! The policemen involved were subsequently acquitted. As a result, justifiably infuriated African Americans erupted in a series of riots that would take years to recover from. In 2006, defensive tackle Matthias Askew was tazed and arrested for resisting arrest for parking violations. Yes, 2 parking violations. Askew was acquitted, and later sued the police department, who settled out of court with a $500,000 payment to Askew. Even Chris Henry, the poster child for badness in Cincinnati, was many times a victim himself of law enforcement bigotry. Of the many charges filed against him, he was either acquitted or convicted of minor offenses, resulting in slaps on the wrist.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been subjected to ridicule for 20 years, which also happens to be how long Mike Brown has owned the team. They are a train wreck of a franchise, and have earned every criticism that comes their way, including to some extent that they are the league’s version of the island of misfit toys. Their number of arrests when compared to the rest of the league is some what higher, but not by much. Mike Brown does acquire character issue players on the cheap, but so does everyone else. Of all the players arrested, none resulted in jail time, and a lot of the charges were dropped. When you look at the big picture, the willingness of every NFL team to sign players with character issues, and the history of institutional prejudice in local law enforcement, it’s no wonder that the Bengals arrest rate is slightly higher, resulting in constant to generalizations and ridicule, particularly when you combine their amount of arrests with their history of suckitude.

However, they don’t have an accused accessory to murder starting at their middle linebacker spot, or a convicted dog killer starting at quarterback. Hell, they don’t even have a wide receiver who was convicted of possessing and discharging a firearm in a public place, nor a wide receiver that killed a man while driving drunk. At least they have that going for them.

  1. July 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    At least they have that going for them.

    Wow, that bar is set pretty low. 😆


    • July 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      LOL, this is the Bengals we’re talking about. There have not been a lot of positives in the last three decades.

      On Thu Jul 21st, 2011 12:25 PM EDT


  2. carvingoutavoice
    July 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Great post. I too think the institutional racism in Cincinnati is part of the problem for the Bengals. Its a big problem that stems back to the days of slavery. While some people here truly were part of the underground railroad and did a great deal to try to forward the cause of freedom for all peoples, a huge portion of the population resented the large resettlement of freedmen to the area. When the Southern cotton and other crops that made the queen city strong dried up during the civil war, it was the freedmen that took the brunt of the blame, including multiple riots that resulted in chasing many out of town. Their rights weren’t respected and many a dirty deal helped to push them out even more. Fast forward 130 years and we are still dealing with this same attitude among law enforcement and other government systems, in spite of the fact that Cincinnati is indeed high integrated and most who live here are not at all racist.


  3. July 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Mike Brown is known as the redeemer. Sort of what the Oakland Raiders were in the late 60s and all the 70s. It was known Al Davis’ reclamation project, signing castoffs and so-called has beens. Other teams nobody else wanted. Sure a few of his players were arrested, mostly for stupid stuff.

    Is there any hope that the Bengals will right their ship, only time will tell.


    • July 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      The only way the Bengals right there ship is when Mike Brown ceases to be involved. I hate to say it, but the only way that happens is if he passes away.


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