Caged cat

Sports blotter: The end of Chris Henry . . . or is it?
By MATT TAIBBI  |  July 2, 2008

More Bengal fun
“Sports Blotter” fans are already well-versed in the career of former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry. He’s one of the most diverse sports-crime performers in the land, and one of the very few to have scored the rare Grand Slam of sports offenses: gun, weed, DUI, and underage booty. Still, mundane as it may be, this latest incident can’t go without comment — it’s just too much fun.

The once-promising deep threat, who was kicked off the Bengals earlier this year in the wake of still more legal problems, is facing an assault charge for allegedly punching a man in the face and throwing a bottle through his windshield. Amusingly, Henry’s defense in that case is that it was a matter of mistaken identity — he thought the victim was somebody who owed him money.

Anyway, when Henry showed up at court for juror selection this past week, more hilarity ensued — his SUV was repossessed! Or, rather, it almost was. Henry’s a bit behind on payments, apparently, but since he parked in a private lot, the lot’s owner kicked the tow truck off his property before they could rip Henry’s ride.

Henry subsequently told Cincinnati reporters that the incident was a “misunderstanding.”

Incidentally, anyone who’s followed Henry’s arrest history will notice that perhaps no athlete in recent times has been unluckier — according to him, that is. Henry was accused of a sexual assault in 2006, but when he maintained his innocence, police dismissed the case and considered filing charges against the victim for submitting a false police report. He squeezed out of a DUI some months later when the police breathalyzer used in his arrest was found to be faulty. Henry would later reportedly fail a court-mandated drug test (he allegedly tested positive for opiate use), only to have the state of Kentucky reverse the finding. Then, in June 2007, he and then-teammate Reggie McNeal were accused of beating up a 16 year old in Florence, Kentucky — but police couldn’t find any corroborating evidence and that charge, too, was dismissed.

They were probably all misunderstandings. Why not? Who says a guy can’t get unlucky 10 or 11 times? “Presumption of Innocence” might as well be on his business cards.

Stay tuned — something tells me we haven’t heard the last of Henry. He might still have a long, Lawrence Phillips–esque secondary career as a bounced-out-of-the-pros ex-phenom who takes a full five or six years to realize the game checks have stopped coming in and he can’t afford the defense lawyers anymore. There are at least two stops left on this railroad line — the inevitable “comeback” stint with the Montreal Alouettes, and the catastrophic four-hookers-with-black-eyes/eightball-of-coke arrest in an Oakland hotel room that derails the redemptive training-camp invite with the 49ers.

All of that is yet to come, guaranteed. For now, though, he gets to keep the Range Rover. All aboard!

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