When you think of the Cincinnati Bengals—even if you’re a Bengals fan reading this—I’m sure that the first thing you think of is something other than discipline. Something other than displays of emotion on the football field. Certainly something other than a no-nonsense attitude.
Yet that appears to be at least on the surface the sort of environment that longtime Head Coach Marvin Lewis has created in Cincinnati over the course of the past decade and a half or so. And he doesn’t seem all that happy about the fact that the league just yesterday elected to ease up on the celebration penalties.
A member of the Competition Committee, the group that reached that decision, Lewis told reporters, “I’m not for that at all”, as his response to their ruling on the celebration guidelines. “We had a good standard”, he said.
“The whole standard has always been, you want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way, and that’s not a very good example for young people”.
I wouldn’t ordinarily do this, but here I have to defer to my colleague, Alex Kozora, who already laid out the perfect Twitter response to this remark:
Having Vontaze Burfict as one of your captains: Good for young people
Celebrating with teammates: Bad for young people
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) May 23, 2017
As I wrote about earlier this offseason, the Bengals’ players elected Vontaze Burfict to be their defensive captain this season. While he may be a very good player on the football field, he certainly does not represent “how to play the game right way”.
Factoring in the salary lost from his three-game suspension, he has been fined over half a million dollars from over a dozen infractions precisely because it was determined that he persistently does not play the game the right way.
So when we’re talking about rules changes and how it sets precedents for appropriate conduct, it seems to be a bit on the nose when your own team fields a captain that has been the poster boy for on-field misconduct. File this under ‘Old Man Yells At Cloud’.