TMZ.com previously reported that Bengals receiver Chris Henry and his fiance met with a wedding planning company the night before the accident that resulted in his death.
Here’s a new nugget from TMZ — two checks that were given to the company came from the Bengals organization, with signatures from “two team honchos.”
The team tells TMZ that the checks came from “money that [Henry] had requested us to oversee.”
In a salary-cap environment, any team that provides such services invites scrutiny from the league office. Even if the money fully came from salary and other reported compensation paid by the team to the player, the mere act of managing a player’s money has value to the player, and thus is subject to the cap system.
Regardless of whether the Bengals have plenty of extra 2009 cap space, failure to apply a value to these services and report them to the league office arguably constitutes a salary-cap violation. Consider the terms of Article XXV, Section 1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement: “A Club (or a Club Affiliate) and a player (or a Player Affiliate or player agent) may not, at any time, enter into undisclosed agreements of any kind, express or implied, oral or written, or promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind: (a) involving consideration of any kind to be paid, furnished or made available or guaranteed to the player, or Player Affiliate, by the Club or Club Affiliate either prior to, during, or after the term of the Player Contract; and/or (b) concerning the terms of any renegotiation and/or extension of any Player Contract by a player subject to a Franchise Player or Transition Player designation.” (Emphasis added.)
The stakes in this regard are fairly high. Under Article XXV, Section 6(b), the Commissioner may impose a maximum fine of $5.25 million on the team, order the forfeiture of two first-round draft picks, fine any team executive who committed the violation up to $375,000 and suspend the executive for up to a year.
Though helping Herny manage his money is a far cry from sliding under the table a briefcase full of it, the point here is that the subject of giving anything of value to a player requires teams to be sure to disclose such matters, because of the magnitude of the potential consequences.
And while the league is unlikely to give the Bengals a hard time regarding its effort to help Henry, the next question becomes whether the Bengals are providing similar services to other players — and whether the Bengals have disclosed these arrangements to the league.