A lot of you know about the city of Cincinnati, but let me share some wisdom with you about "The Queen City" and how things get done around here.
In Cincinnati, there is a great museum that anyone who visits this city should visit, it is called the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. For purposes of this conversation, we will refer to it as the locals do as, the Freedom Center. The Freedom Center is a museum based on the history of the Underground Railroad. Its location recognizes the significant role of Cincinnati, where thousands of slaves escaped to freedom by crossing the Ohio River, in the history of the Underground Railroad. The Freedom Center is literally 100 paces away from the river, you know what else is 100 paces from the Freedom Center?
Paul Brown Stadium.
We all know the story of what Harriet Tubman did with the Underground Railroad, bringing captive slaves across that Ohio River, right through Cincinnati and sending them on their way north to start a new life. Those slaves were faced with unyielding work conditions, below market pay, a tyrant of a boss, and a workforce who could not do better for themselves....
...does this not sound like the Cincinnati Bengals?
See, there are some folks in Cincinnati that would have you to believe that Carson Palmer's latest trade demand is absurd, foolish, and downright silly. That the shear fact of passing up $50 million dollars over the next four seasons is ridiculous. Hold up, let me get the writer's words correct...
But, back to what’s really interesting.You see, this kills me two-fold. Here's why...
What would you do with that? What might you do for it? How insane or rich or both would you have to be to consider blowing it off?
For $50 mil, I’d shine Mike Brown’s wing-tips. I’d detail his sensible, mid-sized, American-made sedan. I’d write on a PBS blackboard 100 times, in indelible ink, “MIKE BROWN IS A FOOTBALL GOD.’’
Then I would take the money and flee to a rum-drink island, never to watch a Bengals game again. Fair island maidens would bring me Painkillers, give me pedicures and call me B’wana.
Number one, an old man in my family once told me that you never should speak about what you would do with another man's money. Its just rude. So for the writer to sit there and basically admit that he'd shoeshine, play the court jester, and be an ingrate in order to get that $50 million, tells me that the man's integrity is in question.
No one should have to face the adverse working conditions that is to play for the Bengals. For an organization who has their senior leadership consisting of all the members of the family, and by only members of the family, I mean that there are members of the family who do the scouting, accounting, general manager work, etc. Its only members of the family...and I got news for you, the family ain't that big. Its only like seven people in the front office of the Bengals. That's it. It is a small scale operation to say the least.
So when you hear about folks complaining about the workout facilities (especially the lack of an indoor workout facility), the lack of medical support (especially the team doctors not knowing that Antonio Bryant's knee was made out of paper mache, chicken string, and balsam wood...thus costing the Bengals an ADDITIONAL $9 million), to the lack of scouting personnel, the Bengals are on the short list with the Clippers, Pirates, and Raiders in regards to organizations that are a plain joke. Its not that there isn't the "potential" for the organizations to turn it around, but the front office won't get out of their own damn way to let the greatness occur. Why would Carson Palmer want to continue to subject himself to this torture? The man is being held captive, and now he is planning his escape. However, there's just one problem...
...Sojourner Truth already tried, and got ridiculed like Jay Cutler did on Sunday evening. His name is Chad Johnson. (I don't have to call him Chad Ochocinco anymore, he has officially rescinded that from the records, thank you Jesus.)
Now, you might recall an open letter of sorts that I wrote to Chad a couple of years ago entailed, "Hello #85...this is the truth calling." In that piece, I cried out to the man telling him that sir you are appreciated here in Cincinnati, that the work that you've done has been admirable. You've been the biggest breath of fresh air for this city since the Big Red Machine in 1990. Shoutout to the homie Ryan Parker.
Yet, arguably one of the 5 greatest players in Bengals history wanted out too. Hell, he probably still wants out now. He went out in 2008 and said he wanted a trade. He knew first hand to the internal issues that the Bengals were having. That they had no direction, that the team wasn't positioning themselves for long-term success. That his quarterback just wasn't quite the same since Kimo made #9's knee explode in 2005. So Chad was planning his exodus, and does this not sound somewhat familiar to what his quarterback just tried to do?
Chad came out and said, "Please trade me to another organization or please pay me more money."
You would think Jay Cutler went out and sprained his MCL the way that Chad was slandered and ridiculed in this city. You'd think he was the scum of the earth. However, in effect, he did exactly what the local writer thinks Carson Palmer should do. Why would you leave when you can get your money? In effect, the only difference is that he wants more money to stay with this bumbling franchise. The fans responded with sincere disdain towards #85. The national media ran with his desires and people came out and said that Chad's selfish, that Chad should just, "shut up and play football", and that Chad doesn't deserve what he has. Now, I won't play the "racismo" card against Chad, but I will say that folks weren't ready to hear that from Chad back in '08. So they rebelled against him and Chad had to repair his image. (By the way, Chad is beloved in this city once again. Some folks never left his side, but the folks that left...they had no real reason to be mad, they just saw him as an easy target to rebel against.)
So what's so different than what Chad said in '08 and what Carson's saying in '11? Nothing.
The only difference is that Carson is paid like an all-pro quarterback, and I readily admit that Chad does not live a lifestyle that would allow him to sit out and retire. However, Carson Palmer's in a situation where he could do the one thing to give himself eternal happiness and also strike a deathblow to the wishes of Mike Brown and the Bengals organization.
He could sit there, walk away from the $50 million, and retire.
For once, I want to see a player who has some power, and who has a chance to stand up against working for a horrible owner to literally walk away from it all. Who in the hell wants to go to work everyday, get hit in the head, sacked all the time, and be in a continually losing situation with an organization that can't seem to fix itself. $50 million is not worth it. Its not, I don't care how much money you pay someone, it does not give you the option to treat folks any kind of way, and to allow your "employees" to work in such adverse conditions.
Walk away Carson...be a trailblazer and walk away. The ridicule will be strong, and people will call you crazy. Be strong my brother, and show these people that you stand for something...and when you do, make sure you take #85 with you. Help out your fellow man.
*Please understand that I'm not calling Mike Brown a slaveowner...per-say. Or that I'm calling Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson freedom riders...per-say. They are just acting slaveowner-esque and freedom rider-esque. Don't take it that serious.*
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!