You probably could not gain more insight into the psyche of Mike Brown if you spent 10 years being his friend, than if you simply listen to his stance on Carson Palmer. In case you have not yet heard his stance on Carson, see this. Money quote:
Carson signed a contract. He made a commitment. He gave his word. We relied on his word. We relied on his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he's gonna walk away from his commitment, we aren't gonna reward him for doing it.
On its face, the above quote seems reasonable. You might even be tempted (if you had no idea who Mike Brown was) to think it was a principled stance. That could not be further from the truth though. Coming from Mike Brown, that quote demonstrates a glaring hypocrisy and no Bengals fan should fall for this shit anymore.
In short, Mike Brown wishes to boil down the complex nature of player/owner contracts to Carson giving his word that he would play. And to Mike Brown, a man does not violate his word. As Carson will discover (if he has not already), God help the man who violates his word given to Mike Brown.
However, this ignores the fact that giving your word goes both ways. If Mike Brown wants to make the contract nothing more than a folksy principle, based on a man's word, then fine. But he gave his word implicitly too. And he's violated his word to Carson by failing to support him and in some cases actively working to undermine his success due to his inept management of the Bengals.
I'll turn it over to commenter JM at this point because no one sums up this whole situation better (I did some very mild editing, see the whole comment here):
Carson Palmer's commitment was waiting on the bench patiently for a season. His commitment is a dead person's ligament that is surgically attached to his knee. His commitment is in the unprecedented work he put into rehab to be ready for '06. His commitment was watching you draft (and sign) thug after misadvised thug and never speaking out. His commitment was putting up with Bratkowski's stale offense for at least 3 seasons too long. His commitment was being chased by Giant defenders that your offensive line couldn't block that seriously injured his elbow (sorry I never saw the same zip or accuracy afterward). His commitment was watching you pass on Desean Jackson for Jerome Simpson, or watching Willie and Levi and Eric all go. Or taking 5 years to find a competent replacement for rich Braham.
And you come out today in front of fans and press and talk like you are some pillar of integrity and you are going to hold Carson to his commitment????
Fuck You! Where's your commitment asshole? To Carson? To fans? To taxpayers?
I have nothing else to add.
Of course I have something else to add! I am me. One point I shy away from, emphasized by the Mike & Mike video you can find in the comments, is that it is hypocritical for any owner to talk about honoring contracts when they can terminate contracts at any time. I have some sympathy to this angle, except for this ability for owners to terminate has been written into contracts themselves for a long time. By their very nature, NFL contracts require players to make a more serious commitment to the team than the owners must make to the player. The point is Mike Brown wants to make this about a man's word, not the contract per se, and he fails to acknowledge he violated his word to Carson by undermining the franchise with his terrible management.