Bengals' Henry goes to jail, waits for NFL decision
By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
January 25, 2007
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Chris Henry got a judge's lecture and a two-day jail sentence after settling the last of his four court cases Thursday, putting the Cincinnati Bengals receiver in line for another suspension from the NFL.
Henry drew a two-game suspension this season for violating the league's conduct and substance abuse policies, and could get a harsher punishment for his latest convictions.
"We are reviewing this and will take appropriate disciplinary action in due course," spokesman Steve Alic said.
Henry has become the symbol of Cincinnati's extensive off-field problems -- nine players arrested in the last nine months, two of them suspended by the league during the season. Henry had four arrests in the last 14 months.
He avoided jail time in the first three cases, but was taken to the Kenton County Jail in northern Kentucky on Thursday after a judge accepted his guilty plea for letting minors drink in a hotel room he rented last spring.
"You embarrassed yourself," Kenton County District Judge Greg Grothaus told Henry. "You embarrassed a lot of people, teammates, friends and family, the city, the fans and myself."
Grothaus gave Henry a 90-day sentence, and suspended all but two days. Prosecutor Ken Easterling wanted Henry to spend some time in jail.
"Looking at his history and the amount of times he's gone before other courts and not gotten jail time, the reason we sought jail time was to send a very clear message to him that this is going to be the response every time you get in trouble in our community," Easterling said. "So I hope, as the judge indicated, that he gets the message."
When the Bengals' season ended with an 8-8 mark, coach Marvin Lewis sent the message that he was cracking down on player misconduct. Since then, cornerback Johnathan Joseph has been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.
Six of the Bengals' picks from the last two drafts have been charged with crimes.
"It's good that this case involving Chris has been resolved," Lewis said in a statement. "Now Chris must continue to strive to mature and grow both as a player and as a person."
In the last two days, Henry accepted plea agreements to end the last two court cases against him.
In neighboring Clermont County, he entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to reckless operation of a vehicle. He was arrested last June on a drunken-driving charge, but the results of a breath test were thrown out because the machine was improperly calibrated. Henry had registered 0.092 on the blood-alcohol test, above the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.
He was fined $250, given a suspended 30-day jail sentence and prohibited from using alcohol or drugs as part of the agreement. He will have to take random drug tests.
Henry's lawyer, Bob Lotz, declined to comment. Clermont County prosecutor Don White said the plea agreement was offered some time ago.
"His attorney is trying to put everything together, get everything taken care of at one time," White said.
On Thursday, Henry settled the case involving underaged drinking. He originally was charged with three counts of unlawful transactions with a minor.
Police said he brought alcohol for three females -- ages 18, 16 and 15 -- in a Covington, Ky., motel room on April 29. One of the three, Monica Beamon, 18, was charged with murder in Cincinnati last September.
Witnesses said Henry was not drinking and did not buy the alcohol. He pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor violation of a city ordinance commonly referred to as a "keg law."
As part of his sentence, Henry has to give speeches to high school and middle school students in the area.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been troubled by the Bengals' series of arrests. When he visited the team last September, he reminded them of their responsibility to stay out of trouble.
A few days later, linebacker Odell Thurman was arrested on a drunken-driving charge, and Henry was a passenger. Thurman, already serving a four-game suspension for skipping a drug test, had the punishment extended to the full season.
Henry wasn't charged in that matter, but got a two-game suspension for his marijuana and weapon cases that were already settled. He could receive a longer suspension for the two latest convictions.