CINCINNATI — The Bengals have built a reputation as a team that can’t win a playoff game and can’t keep its players out of jail. The facts support it.
You already know about the 26-year streak without a playoff victory and Marvin Lewis’ 0-7 record in the postseason. The Bengals’ arrest record and history of violence against women are frustrating and troubling, too.
Those issues, and the team’s history of giving second chances to troubled players, were thrust back into the news when the Bengals drafted Joe Mixon last Friday. A local organization, Women Helping Women, spoke out this week in concern for the message the Bengals send to the community by drafting a player who punched a woman in the face.
The Bengals’ record includes:
- Eight arrests involving reported attacks on women since 2000, according to media databases that track NFL player arrests.
- A league-leading number of arrests and citations between 2000 and 2009.
- A claim by a former player’s abused wife that the Bengals advised her to call club officials — not the police — when her husband attacked her so the club could avoid bad publicity.
It also shows when top players were accused of attacking women, the Bengals kept them on the team. Lesser players were dismissed, but sometimes later rather than sooner.
In 2006, the Bengals drafted a player who had been accused of sexual assault five months earlier and allowed him to remain on the team for a year while he had two more arrests.
After the Bengals drafted Mixon last week, Lewis said the Oklahoma running back, who was 18 when he punched a 20-year-old woman and broke four bones in her face three years ago, deserved a second chance. The Bengals have a long history of giving second chances and more to players, going back to their first season in 1968. Many didn’t work out.
WCPO Insiders can see a database detailing 30 Bengals who have been arrested or cited a total of 44 times since 2000 — not counting Mixon or anyone else they drafted this year. Insiders can also read more about the Bengals’ history of violence against women, and how one player they drafted made the most of his second chance.