Originally Posted by Yachtzee
I don't think the problems are limited to the Bengals. I'm sure many other teams in the NFL have just as many guys who smoke pot or drink and drive as the Bengals. It's just the Bengals have been the ones dumb enough to get caught.
Another thing I was thinking about was that maybe these guys are coming from places where they don't think they'll get pulled over... I know people who come from the big cities who just aren't that aware of the police when they're out driving and when they do see them, they don't think they'll get pulled over. So I've known a few guys who would keep things in their car they really shouldn't.
With that in mind, I don't think it's too far fetched to think that young professional athletes living in the Greater Cincinnati area have no clue about how things work in an area like Clermont County or Boone County and are just stupid when they choose to engage in illicit activity. Doesn't mean it's not going on elsewhere in the league. I'd be willing to there are quite a few NFL players on each team that like to partake of the "sticky icky."
I have a hard time believing that Bengals players are just more naive than the players on other teams, or that there aren't Clermont Counties and Boone Counties near every NFL city. I wouldn't think that that situation would be unique to this area.
My question is, if you feel the Bengals should take a hard line and make an example of a player who gets busted for pot or for drunken driving, does that mean the Reds should do the same thing when their players step out of line? I'm still amazed at the outrage towards Bengals players when Ryan Freel has essentially gotten a free pass for his transgressions. Granted, the Reds haven't had 9 players get busted. But still, Ryan Freel was downright plastered when he was busted for drunk driving. I never heard sanctimonious calls for his release after his arrest and what he did was arguable much more dangerous to society at large than what some of these Bengals players have been arrested for. Where do you draw the line? Do you have a no tolerance policy, or do you wait for the 5th guy who was unlucky enough to get caught?
I don't think we can look at some of these cases in isolation and say that they should be dismissed from the team. Joseph's is a case in point. But there have been cases in the past year (especially the multiple offenders) with players that should have been kicked off the team and not brought back. When the players see these cases get a slap on the wrist from the coach, they know how much they can get away with and remain on the team. That's what had led to the string of nine. If Lewis had dealt with those first, more serious, situations appropriately, I don't think the other eight would have followed, or at least not most of them. Now that the precedent is set for tolerance, it would be unfair to Joseph to punish him.
As for Freel, he should have been suspended from the team without pay for some number of games. (The "without pay" part may be forbidden in his contract, I don't know.)