Not only were the Bengals left out of another Pro Football Hall of Fame class on Saturday night, the NFL excluded the team in a more distasteful manner.
Former Bengals cornerback Ken Riley, who passed away last June at the age of 72, was not included during the “In Memoriam” segment of the league’s NFL Honors show on Saturday night. The team released a statement over Twitter.
We are extremely disappointed Ken Riley was not featured in the “In Memoriam” segment during last night’s NFL Honors.
Ken left a great impact on the Bengals and the NFL. His legacy deserves to be honored among the greatest to ever play the game.
Riley, who spent all 15 years of his NFL career in Cincinnati, has been a notable Hall of Fame snub for the better part of the last 30 years. He was a key member of the franchise’s first Super Bowl team in 1981, made first-team All-Pro in 1983, and his 65 career interceptions still rank fifth all-time.
Though he may now never be inducted in Canton, Ohio, the fact that the league didn’t even include him with other former NFL players who passed away in the last year is shameful. The Bengals have every right to be upset, and their fans have every right to point out the hypocrisy in their condemnation.
The Bengals still don’t have a Ring of Honor for their greatest players in team history. There isn’t anything inside Paul Brown Stadium that resembles one, and the same goes for Bengals.com. There’s just nothing of the sort. For a team that has just one (1!!!) player representing them in the Hall of Fame, this is still a sore blindspot within the Bengals’ organization.
Riley would not only be included in such a place, he would undoubtedly be considered one of the five best players to ever play for Cincinnati.
The NFL will likely attempt to make up for their egregious blunder. The real question is: Will the Bengals also take a look in the mirror?