How often do the Cincinnati Bengals come up when discussing teams with the most players with a rap sheet? When football fans discussing the topic of teams and arrest records, many bring up the Raiders, Cowboys Giants, or Ravens. However, the Bengals are the bad boys of the NFL being the third most arrested team in the NFL and second most in the AFC.
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The Jones Effect
Adam “Pac-Man” Jones has been arrested nine times since entering the NFL in 2005. Some of his charges include assault, harassment with a bodily fluid, disorderly conduct, drugs and more. Jones’s record is so long that he is the eighth most arrested player in American professional sports history. Even more so, Jones’s behavior has caused him to sit-out an entire season. Currently, Jones is on contract with the Bengals until 2019, but that may change if he continues his off-field antics.
Mother always said to never talk ill of the dead. While Chris Henry did have his off-field troubles, there are two sides to this story. Henry had a reputation for being friends with authorities, it was his fifth arrest where he started to change gears. He began showing improvements in his behavior learn from his mistakes. Unfortunately, in 2009 a domestic dispute with his fiancée lead to his death. While his arrest record does have an effect on the Bengals reputation, it is best to remember him as a person trying to do better and help himself. He had a bright future ahead of him and will be missed.
2006: A Year To Forget
The Bengals achieved a record no other NFL team has accomplished in ten years: double digits in arrests. The Bengals had so much legal trouble compared to other teams that they had more arrests than wins. It was this season that damaged the Bengals reputation and made many veterans irate. Bengals players were arrested for committing spousal abuse, vandalism, drug charges and trafficking, burglary, and DUI charges. To make matters worse, the team tried to cover up the incidences. 2006 was a spiking point in the NFL as a whole for arrests and since then the rate has gone down.
The Bengals drafting Joe Mixon has created fission within fans. Mixon has been accused or charged with assaulting women multiple times in high school and college. While Mixon did formally apologize and complete community service, it still does not resonate well with Bengals supporters. More recently, Mixon was in an altercation with a parking attendant in 2016 over a parking ticket. The situation did not lead to any arrests, but some feel these two incidences are enough to bar him from the team. However, Mike Brown does have a track record of wanting to rehabilitate players and give them a second chance. With a strong support group and a close-knit Bengals community, we should expect to see Mixon’s name in the papers regarding touchdowns, not what he did the night before.
A Change In Behavior
Since 2000, thirty Bengals have been arrested for crimes varying from drug charges to assault. To put that into perspective, that’s an average of 2.6 a year and would account for 64 percent of a typical fifty-three-man roster. However, after the 2006 season, the Bengals are seeing a decrease in arrests. The Bengals, especially Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis, are keeping players accountable for off-field issues and are providing workshops and counseling for players. Furthermore, the team is rebuilding its image and consistently involved with its local community with various charities for kids, schools, hospitals and other areas of need. There may be some skeletons in the closet, but owner Mike Brown is still willing to help rehabilitate those players in need.