Thursday, April 3, 2008

In other bad sports news...

Thrown off by the picture? Don't be! From time to time, something so incredibly bad happens in another sport that it simply must be mentioned here. Think of it as "Bad Baseball...and other sports on occasion!"

I was born and raised a baseball fan, and grew in to college football. As much as I enjoy the National Football League, I simply cannot consider myself even close to an expert. That honor goes to Ryan Pittman, whose work you'll see on occasion as an honored guest contributor, including the following piece. Enjoy!

It was announced today that Chris Henry was released by the Cincinnati Bengals in response to an incident at an apartment complex for which he pled not guilty. Among the latest charges are assault and criminal damaging, and that is only what he was in court for!

There are additional allegations that he (among others) was forcibly removed from the BANG Nightclub early Sunday morning. No charges were filed, but the official release from BANG used phrases like “will not tolerate unruly and illegal behavior” and “pending the settlement of punitive damages.”

Are you kidding me? This guy should know better… He had a meeting with the Commissioner one year ago today about the conditions of his return after his last suspension. A guy who averaged almost 16-yards per catch and scored 17 touchdowns in three injury and suspension shortened seasons, and who, by all accounts, could be one of the top receivers in the league if allowed to start and stay on the field, has now effectively ended his NFL career. He may get another shot somewhere (eventually) as long as the Commissioner leaves the door open a crack (speed is always in demand), but that is another topic entirely…

In my opinion, the worst part of all this is that the Bengals should have known better!! This is a classic case for paying attention to a player’s character dossier coming into the Draft. He had plenty of problems in college (Marcus Vick, anyone?), and was even booted from his program for his off-field antics. I could recount all the legal troubles he’s had since then, but I don’t think I have enough space here.

It is not enough that Chad Johnson, your (arguably) #1 receiver is being very vocal about seeking a trade and throwing the organization under the bus, but now your talented #3 receiver has effectively committed career suicide. Put that together with a sometimes schizophrenic and oft injured backfield and an O-Line that needs a lift from the Draft, and it begins to look like Carson Palmer is the only truly loaded weapon on the entire Offense. The Bengals should cut their losses, hang their hat on Golden Boy Palmer and Blue-Collar T.J. Houshmandzadeh (who seems to have a good bit of Hines Ward in him), and stop letting cancers like Chad Johnson and Henry drag down what used to be a proud Franchise. The Bengals are certainly not alone in this stupidity (see also Falcons and Titans), but they are the latest black eye for a league struggling not to become like the NBA.

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