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On Burrow, The Bengals, and Bullshit

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Joe Burrow will be a Cincinnati Bengal. We should celebrate that.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

I hate the word media.

It’s such an all-encompassing word that it barely even means anything these days. I hear people say, “I can’t stand the media.” So do you hate journalists or your aunt’s Facebook account? Because both can be considered media.

I try to avoid the word as much as possible.

So when I say the media narrative that Joe Burrow doesn’t want to be a Bengal is bullshit, you know it is a steaming pile of bullshit.

ESPN, ProFootballTalk, The Ringer, Fox Sports and many other outlets have openly speculated that Joe Burrow might not want to be drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, who, in case you somehow haven’t heard, own the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft this April.

Surely with all this talk, Burrow must have said something provocative about the Bengals, right?

“They have their process that they have to go through, so I’m just blessed to be in the position that I’m in,” Burrow told Drew Davison of Star Telegram. “If they select me, they select me. I’m going to do everything in my power to be the best football player that I can be.”

Wait... that’s all he said? Well did his parents say anything controversial?

“We have no idea where that comes from,” Robin Burrow said. “It’s a story out there that someone has created that doesn’t have any substance - from our perspective at least.”

“He’s excited to even be in that conversation and if the Bengals do draft him, he’s going to be happy,” Jimmy Burrow told Montreal’s TSN 690.

Joe Burrow has never given any indication he doesn’t want to play for the Bengals, none. He’s been prodded about it, and each time he deflected to safe political answers.

Sure, his family did speak to Steve Bartkowski who said he should avoid the Bengals, and he is training with the brother of Carson Palmer, but if Burrow was receptive to this influence, wouldn’t he be a lot less political in his interviews?

It’s not absurd to think a slam dunk No. 1 pick would say he refuses to play for the Bengals. But it might be absurd to think Joe Burrow would do that.

When has Joe Burrow ever tried to take an easy shortcut? He could’ve transferred to any school in the country, and he chose LSU. LSU! The school famous for not being able to do jack shit at the QB position! He left a quarterback goldmine where he was guaranteed to be the starter after one more year on the bench. Instead he chose to fight through a bland offense and brutal schedule because that was his only shot at a national championship.

How’d that work out? He had the best passing season in the history of college football and won an undefeated National Championship.

Joe Burrow isn’t afraid of the Bengals “ruining him.” He loves the challenge of turning the organization around. Just like how he loves getting hit hard and how he loved having to face Top 10 teams week after week. He’s not about to back his way out of this.

The worst take so far has come from ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio who wrote, “If Joe Burrow wants to play for the Bengals, why hasn’t he said so?”

(That’s the headline of the article. I didn’t read the rest because I refuse to give that garbage a click.)

Did I miss the part where draftees had to give their consent to be drafted?

The media bullshit machine is pumping takes out a high level, and it’s because Joe Burrow is a big name. Joe Burrow is a big-ass deal, and people care about him.

That’s why the Bengals should draft him. He will fill up that half-empty stadium and rejuvenate a stagnant fanbase. That’s what star players do and why every organization should pray they can get one.

All of these narratives feel pretty familiar to me. It’s because those of us who are Pelicans fans went though this last summer after the Pelicans won the NBA Draft Lottery.

Immediately after the Lottery reporters like ESPN’s Marc J. Spears tweeted about how Zion was “whisked away” after the Pelicans won the Lottery, and speculated it was to mask his disappointment that he would be going to New Orleans. The next day Brian Windhorst explained that Zion could technically go back to Duke for another year to avoid going to the Pelicans.

Now, if the ever-functional, highly-respected, class of the NBA New York Knicks had won the Lottery, none of those discussions would have taken place.

(Since I’m sure some of our readers are NBA agnostics, the Knicks are a world-class dumpster fire that only garners respect because it’s in New York)

If it was the New York Jets picking a QB first overall instead of the Bengals, I also believe this “leverage” discussion wouldn’t be taking place.

And if Joe Burrow didn’t want to play for Cincinnati, who does he want to play for then? The five teams who pick after the Bengals are the Washington Pro Football Team, Lions, Giants, Dolphins, and Chargers. How many high-class organizations do you see there?

Hell, what even is an elite organization these days? The team with the most championships this century is coming off its third cheating scandal of the past decade. My favorite team, one perennially in the playoffs, is currently in court trying to protect emails with the Catholic Church from becoming public. The defending Super Bowl champions have two key starters with prior arrests for domestic violence against women and children. Don’t act like these other teams are that much more desirable than Cincinnati.

Joe Burrow is the best player to ever play football at LSU. I’m super excited for his pro career. Cincinnati is the perfect place for it. It’s in his home state, is a franchise in need of a savior, and it shouldn’t conflict with most LSU fans’ NFL allegiances (Boy our Browns bandwagon died pretty quick, huh?). For years we longed for even a decent quarterback in purple and gold. We got more than we bargained for, we got the best one ever. Seeing him be the first name called at the Draft will be a treat regardless of what hat he puts on.

To any Bengals fans reading this, I’m sorry if I mis-characterized your team or fanbase. I’m also sorry you have to deal with three months of this bullshit. But trust me, Joe Burrow will be on that field in your colors soon enough. And when that happens, all of us in Louisiana will be rooting for y’all every step of the way.

I’m not gonna say Who Dey though.