Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has rushed for fewer yards this season (211) than Cowboys rookie DeMarco Murray had a single game (253), and he's missed more games (three) than he's been in the end zone (two). Since winning a fan vote to be put on the cover of "Madden 12," Hillis has engaged in public squabbles about his contract, missed a game because of strep throat, was accused of milking that illness for contract purposes and got married one day before saying he hopes he's not becoming a distraction. The last thing he needs is more bad publicity, but that's what he's getting this week in Cleveland after he allegedly blew off a Halloween party for 50 kids that he agreed to attend.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Hillis' brother and agent confirmed that the running back would attend the event hosted by the Cleveland Boys and Girls Club. His presence was promoted and 50 children attended, some of whom were bused from other locations to meet Hillis. Then the Browns star never showed.
LeCharles Bentley, a former NFL Pro Bowler, is on the board of the Boys and Girls Club and tweeted his frustration at the no-show on Tuesday:
Peyton Hillis looking for 10mil guaranteed from Browns and can't show up to kids charity event? #ManPlease.
Bentley wouldn't comment further when questioned by the newspaper, and representatives of Hillis couldn't be reached. The latter is a massive public relations gaffe. Not showing up was bad, not explaining why you didn't show up is much, much worse.
Without knowing the context, we'll hold off on judging Hillis on his no-show. But he'd be wise to remember that sometimes it's not about your actions but the perception of those actions. Even Cleveland pariah LeBron James knows better than to make a bad impression with kids.
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