CINCINNATI (May 24, 2007) -- Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, whose team has had several run-ins with the law, apologized for comments about police possibly targeting his players.
"Yesterday, I gave a radio interview and made some comments that did not illustrate the high regard I have for the Cincinnati Police Department. I apologize that what I said did not reflect my true feelings," Lewis said.
Lewis' statement came a day after a radio interview that drew a response from Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher. Talking on Dan Patrick's ESPN radio show about Bengals off-field problems, Lewis noted that wide receiver Chris Henry was pulled over in March after not signaling a turn while driving in Cincinnati.
Lewis said he thought such a traffic stop indicated there was profiling at work.
But on Thursday, the Bengals released a statement from Lewis saying that he didn't believe Cincinnati police were targeting his players.
"At no point did I say or mean to imply that these issues had anything to do with race," Lewis said. "When I spoke of our players being perhaps more subject to scrutiny than others, I was referring to their standing as public figures."
Lewis said the Bengals have had a good relationship with Cincinnati police and that he has "great respect" for Streicher and the entire department. He personally expressed his regret to Streicher.
Streicher said that, after talking with Lewis, he accepted the comments were a case of something coming out differently than what was meant.
"I have known and respected Marvin since he came to Cincinnati, and in no way do I feel he would intentionally disparage our department," Streicher said in a statement.
Henry received traffic tickets on March 25 for driving with a suspended license, failing to use his turn signal and a seat belt violation. He was allowed to go into a license intervention program to settle the charges.
The third-year pro, who has been suspended by the league for the first eight games of the 2007 season, is among nine Bengals players who were arrested over a nine-month span. Henry was arrested four times -- none of them in Cincinnati.
He was a focus of reports this week that initially alleged he had failed a drug test. His attorney and Kentucky state officials said that Henry's drug screenings were clean. They are part of his probations in Orlando, Fla., for carrying a concealed weapon and in Kenton County, Ky., for allowing minors to drink in a hotel room he rented.