After pleading no contest to two assault charges that occurred during the span of a year, Bengals running back Cedric Benson was sentenced to 20 days in jail and fined $2,000. Benson ended up only spending four of it in jail, returning to the team during the week of the first regular season game, posting 121 yards rushing on 25 carries and a touchdown.
Unfortunately for Benson, a backroom deal was made between the NFL and NFL Players Association that agreed to suspend eight players that violated the personal conduct policy during the lockout. Two of those players are Benson and cornerback Adam Jones. Whitworth, the team's player representative, doesn't like the decision:
"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I feel like it's the wrong decision and I also believe the union let those eight guys down. I don't feel like that was fair. To me, if I was told that was a make or break, I would have said that's a make or break deal that we were going to sell out eight guys to have an agreement."
In response Benson filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NFL Players Association that challenges the NFL and NFLPA deal. According to PFT:
Apart from the obvious notion that the NFLPA wasn’t a union during the period of the lockout and thus had no ability to do anything on Benson’s behalf, Benson argues that he wasn’t an employee of any team during the lockout.
In the meantime, Benson appeared in New York on Tuesday to appeal his three-game suspension.
According to a league spokesman, no decision nor timetable on a decision will be made on Tuesday, however it's fairly certain that it will come down this week. The earlier the better.
In the meantime the Bengals reportedly hosted running back Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis Tuesday afternoon in the likely event that Benson's appeal isn't over turned or, at the very least, is reduced to one or two games. Portis left Cincinnati without signing a contract, though he was given a physical.
Until the appeals process is over and a decision is made, Benson is eligible to play this weekend against the Buffalo Bills. Once he's suspended, his spot on the roster will be exempt against the 53-man limit, allowing the team to sign another running back until Benson's return.