During Marvin Lewis' press conference Monday, he made the point that the distractions -- players getting arrested -- takes away from more useful things. "It’s unfortunate I have to spend time talking about this and that we, as a group, have had to spend time talking about this. I don’t appreciate that. We have a lot of good things going on and unfortunately, these things kind of rear their ugly head and get in our way."
The good things?
"We had a great day with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive. We had nearly 4,300 new toys and more than $50,000 in cash collected, which is about $20,000 more than was collected last year. We appreciate that. It was a great job by our fans."
The funny thing about the national media, is that they want to assign total blame on our head coach -- going so far as to say, "he has no control of the locker room". Obviously, that's not true. And Lewis points out that it's about personal responsibility. He has a football team to coach -- not the leader of social services for kids.
"I can’t hold their hands 24/7, but it is embarrassing. It’s an embarrassment to our organization, to our city, and to our fans. These things socially are not right. Hopefully, our young people who are fans understand there are certain things in our society that are unacceptable. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living or who you are, you’ve got to follow those rules and laws."
In fact, you can make a case that Lewis should be in the running for head coach of the year. How many injuries has this team suffered? How many mornings did you wake up to hear a Cincinnati Bengal was arrested? Through all that, they've remained focused. They're on the high of a four-game winning streak. The defense is playing as well as it ever has. Through all the controversy, this team never folded and stuck together. So rather than blaming the head coach for social problems, give him credit for keeping this team focused when it could have just as easily shut it down.
We salute you, Marvin.
Marvin Lewis Press Conference [Bengals.com]
Lewis speaks out on O’Neal’s arrest [Columbus Dispatch]
Coach says team's eight arrests in 2006 'embarrassing' [DDN]
Lewis: Lawbreakers put selves at risk [Post]
O'Neal pleads not guilty to DUI [Enquirer]
Lewis talks candidly on 8th arrest [Enquirer]