We're lucky we're not fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. They are a hard-luck franchise that has trouble attracting free agents or retaining their own players, and have to specialize in reclamation projects such as troubled tailback Cedric Benson. They play in a homely cold-weather Rust Belt town. They used to have a charmless homefield in Riverfront Stadium. Now the city and fans are on the hook for funding the brand new Paul Brown Stadium essentially on their own. The deal is so bad that the Wall Street Journal wrote an exposé on it, and the report is being used as a cautionary tale in other cities negotiating to build their own new stadiums.
Now their quarterback Carson Palmer has chosen to retire rather than continue risking his life in futility. Team owner and General Manager Mike Brown, who is the son of legendary team founder Paul Brown, and who is depicted in a popular Cincinnati comic strip as a Charlie Brown character, refuses to trade Carson.
Sports Illustrated feature writer Michael Rosenberg is a lifelong Bengals fan and has written many columns on their tortured history, has another another article currently which agonizes over the Carson situation. The best line is when he states the following: The Bengals have abused their fans so much over the years, they might as well hold an annual Punch Your Customers In the Face Day.