Did NFL Help Stop Ocho’s Henry Jersey Tribute?

Adam Schefter wrote on his Twitter.com account this morning that Chad Ochocinco won’t wear #15 for the Bengals today - in what would’ve been a tribute to his fallen teammate Chris Henry.

Adam Schefter Claims Chad Ochocinco Won't Wear Chris Henry's #15

Yesterday Geoff Hobson reported about the possibility of the tribute on the Bengals’ official website, Bengals.com. The piece, which I linked and can still be seen in Google search results, included Ochocinco saying that he wouldn’t wear the #15 jersey if Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis deemed the move a distration.

Apparently Lewis and the Bengals did indeed convey that message to Ochocinco, in more ways than one. The article by Hobson has been scrubbed from the team’s official site - but not before it was also noted at NFL.com and ESPN.com.

NFLPA Offers To Pay Ochocinco Fine For Henry Jersey Tribute

The website deletion of the story of the Bengals is doubly interesting when you consider the NFLPA yesterday announcing that it would “cover” the fine of Ochocinco by the league if he wore Henry’s #15.

All this makes you wonder if the NFL stronlgy “encouraged” the Bengals to prevent Ochocinco from wearing #15, in order to avoid what could be an ugly public relations situation. If the league did issue a fine for the uniform code violation, and the NFLPA paid that fine, you can bet fans would have a more favorable view of the players union.

The deletion of the Hobson story from Bengals.com is one more example of the danger of  having the NFL itself disseminate what is purported to be “news.” The league is about one thing: controlling the message.

Remember that next time you read a team’s official website and NFL.com. Or watch NFL Network.