I Hate Mike Brown

Hate is a strong word. Which is why I use it here.

Photo by David Kohl/AP

This post was originally only about Willie Anderson in his new starting role with Baltimore. But as I dug deeper, and clicked from Bengals story to Bengals story, I grew angrier. I have been boycotting the Bengals this entire season, refusing to waste any part of my Sunday on Bengals TV, radio, and certainly not tickets. (On Mondays, sometimes I read the recaps.) But first, back to Willie.

If you need further evidence of what ails this team, look no further (emphasis mine):

Anderson resisted throwing jabs at the Bengals. But he did say the same pipeline that he said fed Brown bad information about him has been feeding him inaccurate information about players for many years.

"People in the organization continue to mislead him about players," Anderson said, though he would not elaborate.

Another comparison: The Ravens have their personnel and personal issues, too, Anderson said, but the situation in Baltimore is nothing like it is in Cincinnati.

"We have our issues; every organization does," he said. "But here it's all about football. You can concentrate on football here. There are not nearly as many non-football issues here as there were in Cincinnati."

I wish Willie had not been so coy. I wish he had held up a loud, blinking sign that said: "Mike Brown is the problem."

Then, this very morning came a story about a class-action suit against the Bengals by fans who bought season tickets before PBS was built. They thought they were buying Charter Ownership Agreements at $150 per seat per year for 10 years. The Bengals contend they're on the hook for the full seat price per seat per year for 10 years. That's the difference between hundreds of dollars and tens of thousands of dollars, depending on when a season ticket holder attempted to cancel their tickets. I don't know which is worse. Is it worse that the Bengals are once-again saying "fuck you" to some of their most loyal, longest-season-ticket-holding fans, including one guy who has held four season ticket seats every year the Bengals have been in existence up until 2003. Or is it worse that the Bengals in cowardly fashion, are not even fighting the suit, but trying to run out the clock by delaying the case in court until the contracts expire in 2009 anyway. Pathetic.

On a Bengals-bashing roll, I found my way over to WhoDeyRevolution, a blog I've been following for a while. (See their take on the same Willie Anderson story and class-action lawsuit story.) I have glanced at many Bengals blogs in the past couple years, and while many of them have been critical, they all lack that visceral, scathing contempt for Mike Brown. WhoDeyRevolution has that contempt, and more. It's the only blog that focuses more on the real problems of this team, and not just who they're going to draft next year.

So I read this post about the non-Bengals side of Mike Brown:

The plans to build the stadium were underway in 1996, over 12 years ago, for example. And the plan to develop the Banks seems to just now be gaining traction. While many parties are at fault here, it is not like you ever heard of the Bengals being a proactive force. Nope, from what I have heard they were mostly unhelpful and satisfied to earn parking revenue rather than encouraging development that would likely make them more wealthy, successful and popular in the long term.

The post also contains a quote from an apparent source in-the-know that Mike Brown has zero involvement in any local business, charitable, or civic causes. Nice.

Digging further, I was reminded of the original sweetheart stadium lease, "one of the most generous to a team in the NFL," that continues to pay the Bengals dividends for producing one playoff season in nearly two decades:

The team gets all income from concessions and advertising in the stadium.

The team can refuse to let the stadium be used for events it feels could damage the field.

The team pays game-day expenses only; the county pays all other maintenance costs.

The team pays $1.7 million in rent in 2000 - an amount that drops by $100,000 each year until 2009, when it drops to zero.

...Development of county-owned land around Paul Brown Stadium is restricted based on height, appearance and other factors. For instance, the lease forbids an auditorium seating 3,000 or more people from being built just east of the stadium.

The team and the county split the revenue from all non-Bengals-related events 50-50.

:::

Just leave As I said at the beginning, this post was originally about Willie and the on-field performance of the Bengals. But it turned into more. Not only has Mike Brown poorly influenced football decisions that have led to one good season in nearly two decades of ownership. Not only has Mike Brown repeatedly given the middle finger to fans who have been season-ticket holders longer than I've been alive. Not only has Mike Brown enjoyed a stadium lease that is so one-sided it is nearly criminal and probably is, Mike Brown has also shown to be a disruptive force in the progress of our city.

At a time when the city of Cincinnati is struggling to distinguish itself from similar cities as a destination, as a place young people want to live, as a place entrepreneurs want to start businesses, as a place where families do not hesitate to send their kids to the public schools, as a place where nearly everyone who cares about where they live agree we need a strong downtown; at this time, Mike Brown is becoming a dead weight. Mike Brown is like the kid on the block with the rich parents and the nice toys, who doesn't play with anyone else. Sure, he's a nice kid, but when the other kids see his toys and want to play too, he just takes his toys inside.

At the risk of sounding cliché, Mike Brown does not realize that everything is connected. Everything is connected. When he forces the county pay for artificial turf, after he insisted on building the stadium with real grass because "football should be played on grass," it leaves less money for a new small business. When he puts such a piss-poor product on the field, less people will come downtown before and after the game. When he spends more time reminding everyone involved with the Banks that he has veto powers and less time actually coming up with ideas, he only increases the wait before anything but a hole in the ground is built around his stadium.

The Bengals are doing more harm than good. As a football fan, I wish they would just leave.

6 comments:

Chris Bergman said...

Gerard, what a great read!! I agree with you on every issue concerning Mike Brown. Sadly, I continue to support my hometeam, knowing I won't get that support back until Brown passes the torch. "There's always next year" doesn't really work in Cinci, does it?

Bill said...

Go Bearcats!!!

another sad bengals ex-fan said...

Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself!

But, I was wondering about Chris Henry and the whole Ocho-Cinco crap?

I think some of the "players" need to just grow up and become real football players, not just snotty ghetto punks...

gerard said...

@another sad bengals ex-fan:

Regarding Ocho-Crappo and Henry, they were definitely problems. But I think were it not for Mike Brown keeping them here, they would have been gone a long time ago.

gerard said...

@Bill:

Speaking of the Bearcats, Brian Kelly, who's been in town less than 3 years, gets it. He told his kids that they represent not just UC, but the entire city. While saying this, Mike Brown was spotted dumpster diving outside his stadium for pennies.

5chw4r7z said...

I think the Ocho-Cinco thing would have been avoided with an owner that gets it. The players act out because no one is listening to them.
Fans in Detroit have a campaign going to move the team to LA, we should start a new campaign for the Los Angeles Bengals.

http://tinyurl.com/6xm8bo