+ Even aware of his impending criminal case, the Cincinnati Bengals still elected to sign undrafted free agent defensive end Brandon Joiner soon after the 2012 NFL draft. This week Joiner was sentenced to a three-year prison term, though his lawyer, Jay Granberry, feels that with good behavior the defensive end could be released on parole within six to nine months. For their part the Cincinnati Bengals decided to retain his rights, releasing a statement that read:
"Brandon must serve a sentence for a crime he was convicted of in 2007 -- when he was 18," the Bengals said. "But his positive actions during the past five years, including significant community service work, graduation from Arkansas State University and an unblemished subsequent behavior record, have generated a group of active supporters that includes Mike Beebe, the Governor of Arkansas, and Hugh Freeze, Brandon’s head coach at Arkansas State and now head coach at Mississippi. In kind, the Bengals support Brandon's future opportunity for a career in the NFL."
This caused some to dust off their old talking points, labeling the Bengals the bad boys of the NFL. Our own Anthony Cosenza countered many points that some in the media are using against the Bengals.
What's funny is this.
The discussions surfacing from those with the same Bengals rhetoric, are using an undrafted free agent named Brandon Joiner as the key to their argument -- an unlikely candidate to even make the 53-man roster, much less as a valued contributor. It's like they woke from a slumber, hearing the world "Bengals" and making tired characterizations that most level-headed readers tend to ignore these days -- including professionals with conglomerate badges.
Cincinnati signing Joiner is not unlike a Fortune 500 company hiring a guy with history to work in the mailroom. If said guy turns his life around, works hard and gets promoted, he may offer the company a valued employee, a reward for their risk. If not, they get a new employee for the mailroom and the company never misses a beat.
There was no risk from Joiner and it's clear that the Cincinnati Bengals couldn't possibly care less about what people say about their own team -- hell, less than the vigilant defense from their own fans.
We're not entirely familiar with Joiner to suggest that the Bengals are right or wrong for standing behind him after the announcement of his three-year sentence. But they must see enough to deal with lazy commentary surfacing after the fact.