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Hobson's Choice: Looking for sanity

Q: Why won't Marvin Lewis address some of his players' issues instead of deflecting blame? He wouldn't address these issues when they first started happening. Now he is saying local law enforcement is targeting his players. He is going to start losing a lot of respect.
--Steve, Orlando, FL

STEVE: Let me get this straight. We've got somebody over in Kenton County who may have committed governmental misconduct in broad daylight, and the guy who gets sautéed in the media is a coach shaking his head over a player getting pulled over for not turning on his signal?

At no time has Lewis deflected blame to anyone but himself and his players, as reflected in his roster moves (A.J. Nicholson), Gameday moves (Chris Henry, Deltha O'Neal) and in his position as the only head coach at commissioner Roger Goodell's Conduct Summit back in February. P>And he certainly has addressed this stuff with the local and national media, ad nauseum. You only have to go back to the AFC coaches media breakfast in March at the NFL's annual meeting, where he spun on the spit with the ham and eggs for 45 minutes.

Maybe I'm nuts, but when I read what Marvin said to Dan Patrick I didn't think he was saying that the police had made his players targets. To me, he was saying his players are high profile and that they're going to stand out because of who they are. And, in that sense I thought he was saying they aren't black or NFL players, but celebrities.

And now seeing Marvin's clarification on Thursday, I wish he had been able to say it just like that. But he didn't and paid a ludicrous price.

Look, he's a football coach. I'm not looking for him to be a latter-day silver–tongued William Jennings Bryan but, unfortunately, you have to be nowadays to survive the manholes of 24-hour news.

Of course he wasn't dissing the Cincy police. Look at all the work he's done in the community and all the work he's done with the police and, like police everywhere, they do a hell of a thankless job.

But I think you've got to give him a mulligan for being upset on the turn signal. I think a lot of people are with him on that one.

Yet the most disturbing thing is how a few syllables from Lewis got stretched into a controversy while there is a full-scale problem sitting wide open in Kenton County that needs no context.

Flat out, here's a judicial institution going public with a false accusation, which would, at the very least, seem to be a gross abuse of office.

And a head coach who has raised nearly $3 million for the community is getting flayed for a remark that has to be clarified?

He's still got my respect.

I sure wish these guys had a game tomorrow. It seems like that's what everyone needs to get sane again.

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