Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown is hoping the team’s second appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks will do the trick.
According to Joe Kay of the Associated Press, Brown wanted to take the opportunity in order to change the public’s perception of the Bengals as a team which welcomes troubled players. He insists the team is different now and he wants everybody to know about it.
“We have a different team now than we had a few years ago. We want the public to see them. We think they’re good people. We think the public will be taken by them, will like them. It gives us a boost.”
The Bengals first appeared in the HBO miniseries four years ago. Brown hoped by featuring one of their players on that year’s squad – the late Chris Henry – people would be able to overlook his criminal record, which featured five arrests. Since then, 10 different Bengals were arrested in 14 months.
The team’s reputation took a very hard hit to the point some one-liners featured Lindsay Lohan and some NFL Draft aspirants with criminal records as future Bengals. Brown, in an interview with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, said “Blame me” for the perception that Cincinnati is a landing spot for delinquents.
He maintains the acquisitions of key players such as Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Andrew Whitworth would help give the Bengals an image makeover.
“We made a conscious effort to draft and bring in good people. I think with (Andy) Dalton and (A.J) Green as examples, with (Andrew) Whitworth as an example, this is how we want to be perceived. Over the years we’ve dug ourselves into a hole. I’m probably the one who did it. We brought in guys and worked with them. Sometimes they came around and sometimes they didn’t.”
Brown points to no less than his father, legendary football coach Paul Brown, in regards to dealing with malcontents.
“You crossed a line on him and your can is out the door before you can count to 10. We’re trying to focus on brining in good people.”
Hard Knocks is on its eighth season and runs for five episodes. The schedule can be seen here.