Soon after Cedric Benson's lawyer released a statement on behalf of the running back, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweets that he has "been told by a league source familiar with Cedric Benson's case that it is 'very minor.'" Knowing Roger Goodell as intimately as we do, back in the day always setting an example of personal conduct against our lonely little fellas, we still have no idea how to approach the word "minor". On one hand, he'll suspend a player a long time even without having been legally convicted of a crime. On the other hand, he's always stated that his rule, when dishing out bone-crunching punishments, has always been about the integrity of the game. However, it's possible, just possible, that the league office is viewing this with a lens that I'm starting to see through.
This entire situation keeps appearing like a personal vendetta from a guy that's pissed off after realizing that he could have scored big with a personal lawsuit.
I've said all day that this situation just smells of weird. If Benson is the victim, and that's the position that his lawyer took in a released statement, then questions have to be raised:
- Why did it take a full month to pass before the charges were officially charged?
- Why weren't there any reports from witnesses that night and did any local papers report on it?
- If Benson did call the cops, as his lawyer said, is there a report filed from the night of the incident after Benson was interviewed by police?
- Why weren't charges filed after he was interviewed that night?
- If Benson spoke with the investigating detective and provided a date that he'd return to Texas, why didn't the detective get in touch with Benson?
Benson's version of events appear differently than what's being reported in the police report. For instance, take this report from TMZ which states that Benson was "spitting blood from his injured lip." Then, the TMZ report states afterwards, that "bar employees tried to calm Benson down -- and the NFL star replied, 'I don't give a f*ck.'" After refusing to leave the bar, Benson "had to be physically escorted out by security." It's very possible that Benson's version and the police report are two parts to a whole. Perhaps Benson was the first to be assaulted (at the very least threatened) and he retaliated.
It would make sense. Some drunken idiot takes exception to Benson posing with some ladies for photographs and the man punched Benson -- hence the "spitting blood from his injured lip." Benson reacts, as many of us would and an altercation ensued. While leaving the club, as written in Cornwell's statement, he was "approached by another man aggressively"; which could have been a bouncer. Not waiting to see how this would turn out, Benson "protected himself" and then left the club. The biggest discrepancies between the police report and Cornwell's statement is whether or not Benson left on his own, or was escorted out. Words were flying, which I'm sure happened.
Either way, this is what we know. Lawyers will always put their clients in a favorable light. Somewhere in the middle, idly sits the truth. The league views the matter as "minor". This story isn't going away.