I feel the need . . . the need for a mini-rant.I was a little angry early today when I heard that Chris Henry, maligned wide-receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, was in trouble again. This time a Kenton County Kentucky prosecutor claimed Henry tested positive for opiates, which would net him an automatic three months in jail. This would have to be the last straw, forcing the Bengals to cut him.
But then the source of my anger shifted as, apparently, the prosecutor now admits that he might be wrong. One test might be negative but the other test is still pending. So what motivated this attorney to come out and make such a strong statement? I'd say this guy wanted some media face-time. Already ESPN has picked up the story and who, lawyer or not, wouldn't want a sound-bite on SportsCenter?
Now if Chris actually failed a test, then this is all a moo point, as Joey from Friends would claim. But if he didn't fail a test then I would hope Kenton County would profusely apologize. And, who knows, maybe Chris could sue them.
I hate this situation because it forces me to defend a guy in Henry who can't seem to stay out of trouble. But his misdeeds don't ignore the fact that Kenton County was irresponsible in the way the disseminated information. What if Chris has finally decided to turn his life around? What if he he's figured out that a lucrative NFL career is more important than hanging with strippers? But because certain civil servants are more interested in feeling important by distributing inside information instead of the truth, then his road to restoration gets steeper.
In addition to this lawyer, where is the responsibility from the media here? Rather than trying to be first, maybe they might want to try getting their facts straight. Even if Henry is clean, the damage has already been done. He's again viewed as a deviant, now for things he hasn't done. In this age of instant news, the media needs to be even more responsible in the way they handle their jobs. An arrest/indictment is front page worthy but an acquittal is relegated to page 13? Where's their accountability? I had a friend go through a local media frenzy this year because of an indictment and I was disgusted by the lack of integrity the reporters brought to the table. False truths were aired and nothing can be done about it.
Then again, maybe we're all culpable because we want the latest news. We give in to our 24-hour news channels and websites not realizing that we're contributing to the system. I believe that the media can attain a balance between their speed and their accuracy.
Additionally, I'm feeling sorry for head coach Marvin Lewis. I still think he's the best thing the Bengals have done since Super Bowl 23. Sure, he's had some guys get into trouble, but he's coming into his own as an NFL coach. This, along with the AJ Nicholson arrest this last week [who, by the way, was released today and, interesting enough, his girlfriend is already admitting she made the story up], is another black-eye for a coach who's trying to get it right. The national media will continue to run with the over-used "the Bengals are thugs" storyline regardless of what happens in these cases.
Just one last comment: It seems like all of these Bengals keep getting into trouble in northern Kentucky. Maybe they'd be best served to hang out on this side of the river.