No Free Speech In Cincinnati?
One of the biggest disappointments of the 2010 NFL season has to be the woeful performance of the Cincinnati Bengals, who, after dropping yet another game, this time to the New Orleans Saints, have a sterling 2-10 record, strengthened by an impressive stretch of nine straight losses. With such a great showing this season, coming off a 2009 season where the Bengals won the AFC North, fans are understandably pissed off about Cincinnati’s sad return to the land of Bungles football. While some disillusioned fans direct their ire and disappointment at Carson Palmer, who’s uneven play invites such criticism, others are targeting someone who, in the mind of this writer, is much more to blame than any coach or player on the Bengals roster: owner Mike Brown.
Since Brown took over the reigns from his father, the great Paul Brown, the Bengals have a 113–202–1 win/loss record, giving the Bengals a sterling .359 winning percentage under Brown The Lesser’s watch. Oh, and Brown skimps on scouting, doesn’t use a GM, and has a commitment to low-balling high draft picks, which leads to unnecessary holdouts that can impact a rookie’s progression into the team’s system.
Needless to say, when you think of the Bengals playing Bungles football, it’s important to include Brown’s lack of success in the mental image. With that in mind, allow me to introduce to you the fan in the lead image, who decided to let his feelings be known about Brown’s “leadership” ability at the recent Saints/Bengals game by wearing a “Mike Brown Sucks” t-shirt, complete with a “Flush Mike Brown Down” bag on his head.
For his first amendment efforts, our hero was removed from the game; although, in typical Bengals fashion, he wasn’t removed until the game was finished:
After the game ended, he took his coat off and put the bag on his head and stood in the middle of the isle holding his arms up to pose for pictures.
“I went down to the middle of the isle,” he said. “I kind of head my arms up. I’m wearing the Mike Brown Sucks shirt and I got the bag over my head. Again, people were taking my picture, it’s actually on Mo’s [Egger] blog. Nobody said anything to me until we’re walking up the stairs. It was probably a few minutes after the game and this usher grabs me. I have the bag on and he starts ripping at the bag. He actually ripped the bottom part of it off; the top part is still there. He grabs me by the shirt and says, ‘don’t ever come back here with that shirt on. You’re kicked out.’”
Sigh, the Bengals can’t even get rid of unruly fans in a timely fashion. What the hell good does it do to remove the offending fan after the game? What kind of message does that send? That you’re allowed to hate on Brown during the game, but after, it’s a no-no? Is that even logical? Or was this the actions of a security guard who was just pissed off after watching the Bengals lose yet another game with their typical “bang your head on a desk” aplomb?
If so, that’s a little easier to understand. Whatever the case, I, for one, completely support the message our heroic, first amendment-defending Bengals fan is delivering.