Saturday, November 10, 2001
Do the Bengals hate us?
Do the Bengals hate us? They must. They spent all week trying to keep our kids off their grass.
I am baffled. And sincerely honked off. What more could we have done for Mike Brown Inc.?
Our elected officials have guaranteed the prosperity of the Brown family business. We built a splendid new headquarters for Mr. Brown's employees, with a river view and the right to blackball competing neighbors. We swallowed our pride and $51 million in cost overruns.
Meanwhile, his product has stunk up the NFL for several seasons.
Wearing a white hat
But no matter what we do, it's never enough.
This week, the Bengals put together a deal with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to host the Division I football playoffs today at Paul Brown Stadium. This was after an initial rejection by the OHSAA.
We talked to the Bengals people, but the bid they submitted was prohibitive, the association's commissioner Clair Muscaro said.
But the Bengals persisted. Sort of.
Hamilton County Commissioner John Dowlin says, The county did the arithmetic, and we had to explain it to the Bengals.
After it was explained, it all got worked out. It looked like a win for the Bengals. Everybody was willing to let them wear the white hat. Then county officials met with the Bengals and athletic directors from the high schools in the playoffs. Just to iron out the details.
The Bengals didn't want the high school bands to march on the field. They were worried about the grass. I guess they thought some high school girl carrying a flute could do more damage than a linebacker carrying 300 pounds of his own buffed-up self.
With characteristic lack of grace, the Bengals fought down to the wire.
All day Friday, the resources of Hamilton County including various administrators, aides, the prosecutor's office and the board of commissioners were devoted to further service of the Bengals football company. When they might have been working on low-cost home improvement loans. When they might have been planning riverfront development or discussing the Port Authority with Cincinnati's newly elected mayor. When they might have been considering routine matters, such as storm water, flooding and zoning.
Instead, our elected officials were trying to get the Bengals to let four high school bands march on the field of Paul Brown Stadium for 28 minutes. Four local high school bands kids from St. Xavier, Elder, Princeton and Colerain. The stands would be packed with their parents, who are paying the freight for this sports palace.
But the Bengals were fighting for control and, ultimately, money. A possible NFL fine for inferior grass. Maybe some new sod. And God forbid that the Brown family should risk a nickel of its own. Their nickels must be in the witness protection program never to be seen again.
You're always concerned about what your community thinks of you, said Troy Blackburn, Mike Brown's son-in-law and director of business development, but you balance those concerns with the real risk financially, to our reputation of having more traffic on the field.
So, maybe they don't hate us. Maybe they just love money.
E-mail email@example.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/pulfer.
High school football coverage
Bengals' turf battle with county not over
PULFER: Do the Bengals hate us?
Parking plentiful for football, concert
Convention center plan scaled back
Mom arrested in kidnapping
'Over-vote' ballots not counted
Police may face federal charges in deaths
Added significance for Veterans Day
Kentucky events honoring veterans
Ohio events honoring vets
McNUTT: Veterans deserve our thank-yous
Veterans Day closings
Byrd defender asks out of case
Drug ads use language to make point
West Chester holds annual celebration
Beechmont Mall put up for sale
Bush orders more Guard to airports
Chabot to join U.N. delegation
Evil never wins, diplomat says
Jury acquits teacher of theft
Kids OK after close call in fire
Lucas hails postal workers
SAMPLES: Things go right in one little world
Bus garage burglarized
Children see tools of war, talk to veteran
Officials hope to launch Ky. bus tours
Kentucky picks first inductees into Music Hall
Molloy promises change
Commissioner charged in fight
Humans lead rare birds on how-to migration
Ohio to check money transfers
Traficant pleads innocent to revised federal charges
Vouchers likened to college grants