Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


In a scene eerily reminiscent of other cultures breaking down, the Bengals took another step Sunday towards the need for total makeover.

I’m not alone when I say this. It’s been written before. The Cincinnati Bengals just don’t look like a lot of other NFL franchises.

I don’t mean their record – wins and losses. Other franchises lose games, too.

No, what I mean is even when they win…there doesn’t seem to be an actual rudder in the water. At times there appears to be no direction. No personal discipline, or consequences for the lack thereof. More than once since the death of founder Paul Brown the modus operandi of the organization has often resembled a rehabilitation facility for other team’s wayward souls – players that other teams cut for simply the failure to do right. The Bengals sign them. Can you say…Adam Jones?

And as Greg Hoard wrote on Sunday, how many times can you think of in the past three years when it seemed like total chaos, even on the field? Well, if you’re actually still reading with me, add Sunday’s embarrassment to the list.

They say things like what’s happening with the Bengals happened to all great empires before their demise. I’m not an authority on Roman history, but I know enough to know that things were pretty dicey right before the fall of what was then thought to be the world’s greatest culture – from corrupt leadership, lack of personal responsibility, and a general attitude of helplessness on the part of its citizens. No one seemed to know who was in charge, or who to trust.

And is that not a bit like what you sense with the Bengals presently?

Almost 48 hours after Sunday’s meltdown in which A.J. Green went off, no one’s publicly taking responsibility on the part of the organization. Marvin Lewis said what Marvin always says. And as for ownership…nothing! I’m reminded of the nothingness of 2015 when Vontez Burfict tried to behead Antonio Brown…and lived to play another day as a Bengal. More rehab needed, apparently.

A.J. Green, now, is no Vontez Burfict, and did take full public responsibility Sunday for his actions on the field – for wrestling Jalen Ramsey to the ground and throwing punches at him.

But why the cone of silence from the front office? Why nothing from Mike Brown? Who runs things down there when it comes to the point of obviousness…where everyone knows that things cannot run themselves?

Who’s responsible when responsibility, on the field and off, is so desperately needed?

Who’s thinking consequences, when consequences are so obviously in order?

Some have coined the phrase, “Bengalized”, meaning that players, for some reason, just act differently as a Bengal than they do with other organizations. We’re all familiar with this phrase – when the inmates run the asylum.

And many have left the Bengals to become great players with other teams, seemingly because of separation from the rudderless ship.

It does make you wonder. Just how, and when, empires come to an end.

And whether a change of scenery…wouldn’t do everyone good!