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Back and Forth: The Chris Henry debate.

I enjoy pieces from writers and bloggers that personally address NFL players and coaches. As if the players and coaches read blogs or fan-run sports sites, these pieces speak directly to them. No one supports Henry and his actions. In fact, if you gather a group of Bengals fans, there's a good chance a majority would support cutting ties with the guy completely. And with his latest transgression driving with a suspended license, that may just happen.

Here's where I have a problem. Henry's actions are dumb and he appears that he never "gets it". At the same time, I fail to understand writers and bloggers self-righteous indignation when we hear ad nauseam about a player's opportunity in the NFL. Sometimes it comes off as a writer's jealousy for not having that opportunity. No, it's not a right. It's an opportunity and a privilege. And as long as the NFL and their teams enabled this conduct with slap on the wrist penalties, it will continue to be their opportunity.

The Debate.
To shout at the players for blowing their opportunity is simply a talking point. If you really tire of conduct issues, blame the NFL's lackadaisical discipline and low standards during the NFL draft. But even that raises a question. If all 32 teams do not use higher standards, someone will draft a great talent late in the draft that could burn your team on the field.

Therefore, you grab the best talent available to help your team win... remember, that's the point in sports. But that's the major debate, isn't it? Talent vs. Character.

Get off Henry's back and attach yourself to the NFL
You invest nothing in Chris Henry's life outside of 16 Sundays per year. His arrests are embarrassing as hell. But if jokes cracked by writers and others get under your skin, then learn how to shrug it off.

There's a controversy going down in Cincinnati's Knothole Club. Remember the days when you shouted, "We need a pitcher, not a belly itchier." Those days are over.

The Knothole Club of Greater Cincinnati has decided to eliminate "chatter." Unless the chatter is "positive" and directed at your own team. You can't say "We want a pitcher, not an underwear stitcher!" unless, maybe, you grew up in a culture that idolizes underwear stitchers. Standings for the Feelgood Division of the Self Esteem League will be available any time now.

It's a wonder that some do not have the ability to shrug off criticism aimed at the Cincinnati Bengals.

The NFL, the player's association and the teams will be the one's that judge Henry. The law will punish him. If he continues playing through all the discipline processes, and you're still angry, then blame them, not Henry. He's just playing within a system that enables him to do what he pleases off the field.

And for all of Roger Goodell's talking points about discipline, that system could cease to exist. Now, we're getting somewhere.

Alternatively/Counterpoint: I agree with some points. Personal responsibility is fading. Not just in football, but as a societal whole. In the NFL, the depreciation of personal responsibility is forcing mother (the NFL) to get tough. You can't expect personal responsibility these days; you damn near have to hope for it. Bengals fans sat nervously as St. Patrick's Day weekend came and went. Why? Because we can't expect personal responsibility to take hold with the team that's earned "Poster Boy" status in the character debate. The main point here is: personal responsibility.

Yes, I agree. It is a privilege to play in the NFL. But the league enables them to act this way and yet, continue to be given that privilege. So who's the fool? The player that gets in trouble or the system that drafts and signs these guys?