Today Cincinnati pays its final tribute to Cincinnati Bengal, Chris Henry. Since learning of his death due to an auto accident related head injury, fans have offered condolences, some in the form of flowers and signs lain out in his honor at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Football Stadium.
Avid Bengals fans across the city are flying banners in honor of ‘Slim.’ One local Henry supporter has changed his Facebook image to 15, honoring Henry’s team number. The NFL acknowledged his passing with a moment of tribute during football games this past Sunday.
Bengals team members will travel by chartered flight to join Henry’s friends and family for a final farewell at the Alario Sports Complex outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. Chris Henry will be missed; but perhaps in our grief, we should take a moment to remember the lesson he leaves behind. Another young, talented life has been cut short as the result of a domestic dispute. Isn’t it about time for us to figure out how to stop such tragedies before they begin?
A Domestic Dispute
Detail by detail, the facts have come to the surface. Tempers flared. A couple argued. One drove away in anger. The other refused to let her leave. The police investigating the accident that followed call it a ‘domestic dispute,’ the euphemistic phrase given to the human interaction played out time and again in homes across America each and every day. But unlike those everyday stories, because this incident ended in the death of Cincinnati Bengals football star, Chris Henry, the world has paid a bit more attention to this particular domestic incident.
Local Cincinnati and national sports media have told and retold the story of Chris Henry’s all too brief life. They have analyzed his early football years, his tenure with the Bengals and the injuries that had him temporarily sidelined from the Bengals’ winning season.
In light of his passing, many have reexamined Henry’s past brushes with local law enforcement; and even his harshest critics agree, he had been a young with many lessons to learn and deserving of the controversial second chance he got from the Bengals. With a focus on football excellence and wedding plans in his future, Chris Henry’s past was his past. He was getting his life back on track.
An Unfortunate Chain of Events
In an on-air slip of the tongue this week, one Cincinnati newscaster mistakenly referred to Chris Henry as ‘Chris Brown,’ the young entertainer whose tumultuous domestic history with star, Rihanna, was recently scrutinized on television talk shows and tabloids. It’s understandable.
The incident most certainly triggers thoughts many are hesitant to share. Chris Henry’s death, while a tragic auto accident, was also the terrible climax to an unfortunate chain of events that began with a simple domestic dispute. It brings to mind recent blurbs about Tiger Woods, whose auto accident is alleged to have come on the heels of domestic discord.
A Common Thread
Unlike the Rihanna/Chris Brown incident, there has been no speculation of violence in the Chris Henry case. And unlike Tiger Woods’ auto accident, no allegations of cheating have come to light. Still the incident began with a common thread, an argument that spiraled out of control. The shadow of domestic discord looms in the background of this tragedy and should be examined, if for no reason than the inherent lesson.
Res ipsa loquitor is a Latin phrase that means the thing speaks for itself. Chris Henry died due to injuries sustained as a result of falling from the back of a pick up truck. We may never know the rest of the story, but the incident speaks for itself. If we hope to learn from the Chris Henry tragedy, we must come to terms with a few facts.
Each year thousands of Americans are injured in incidents that begin with the simple exchange of angry words that we allow to spiral out of control. As of 2007, statistics show that 4 Americans die each day due to such incidents. While most of the dead and injured are women, men can easily fall victim as well. Perhaps we can all pledge to prevent the next tragedy.
Cincinnati Channel 9 WCPO news