As a lifelong Bengals fan, last night’s loss was hard to take - the hardest one yet. Even harder, however, is the conversation I had to have with my 8-year old son this morning.
Raising a kid these days is hard. Social media, school shootings, bombings. Every day there is a conversation about something scary, over which we have little or no control. These topics are not fun to discuss much less make sense of for young kids. Today our talk was hard as we tried to explain your choices during last night’s game, but different in that we do have some control. During our talk today our family decided to ‘fire’ the Cincinnati Bengals as our team.
As a member of a professional sports organization - owners, coaches, players, equipment managers - you have a responsibility. Of course, your primary responsibility is to win games – ahem.
But beyond winning, and perhaps more importantly (at least for a mother of three young children who want to be fans) is the responsibility to set a good example. To conduct yourself in a manner that your fans are proud of, one that we want to emulate. Last night there were so many things that did exactly the opposite and the reason why I cannot let my children to root for you.
There are important life lessons that I want my children to learn by being a member and a fan of a team: Doing their best work each time. Working together for the success of the team. Displaying self-control. Being humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Respecting their opponents, coaches and the officials. Taking responsibility for your actions. Conducting themselves in a way that their team, their fans and their family would be proud of.
Players – your name is on the jersey not only on the field during play but also on my kid’s back because he wants to be like you. After last night I can no longer, in good conscience, allow my child to wear a Bengals jersey – certainly not with the names Burfict or Jones. Not after your display of selfishness, utter lack of self -control and disrespect of every player on the field, every fan in the stadium and all of us at home watching – hoping for a Bengals playoff win.
My kids will find a replacement team – it will be easy for them. For me, it is a bit harder. For 42 years I have worn orange and black, I have watched, cheered and championed your team– even before you were here. I will be sad. But I have to set a good example for my kids and help them grow up to be the things that you are not.