Dubbed “Halloween With Hillis,” former St. Ignatius, Ohio State University and Cleveland Browns center LeCharles Bentley was slated to have this season’s tough luck star on his recently-launched Internet radio program, airing from the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club with the opportunity for children in attendance to receive candy as well as autographs, and all donations from the evening going directly to the Club. A press release was sent out roughly one week earlier, sharing Bentley’s booking as well as encouraging local children to attend.
Surrounded by various members of the local media, Bentley went live with his Watch the Throne-laced radio program at 6:00pm without Hillis in attendance. Bentley, who is a board member of the Boys & Girls Club, recently held an event at the same club with former Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith, helped to organize the event for underprivileged youth, allegedly ensuring that the event was booked through proper channels with verifyable communication. Unfortunately for those in attendance, the Browns running back never made it to the Club, leading to a groundswell of consternation.
Though a press release went out with regard to the event, a cursory look at the Cleveland Boys & Girls Club website has no mention of the event. The only Halloween-related events held at the Club, per the website, involved trick-or-treating on October 21 and pumpkin carving three days later. Given the matter in which third-party events are organized, there are multiple layers in which communication lines could potentially be blurred. A representative from the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland has gone on record with WFNY to say that they agreed to provide Bentley and his radio show the space from which to broadcast, but all bookings and logistics were left in the hands of the show’s host.
Hillis has largely been very welcoming to - and welcomed by - the Cleveland area, previously taking part in several area autograph signings and various other local events. His most recent set of tweets encompass his feelings for the town, stating that the Arkansas native would like to retire in Cleveland after a career with the Browns. Unfortunately, since the calendar turned to 2011, Hillis has been surrounded by drama both on and off of the field, ranging from contract discussions to missing multiple games due to a litany of injuries and ailments. It could be assumed that if not for the ancillary drama surrounding Hillis 2011 season, this issue may not be an issue at all.
On the radio program, Bentley referred to Hillis’ lack of participation as “more of a ‘trick’ than a treat.’” As the event came to a close roughly one hour later, Bentley noted what had transpired via Twitter, stating that not only did the bruising back not show up to the event, but that he wants a contract including $10 million in guaranteed money. Given that the event was not sponsored by the Browns, the team will not comment on the players, both former and current. As of this publication, Hillis has yet to respond to the most recent set of allegations.
AP Photo/Ed Reinke