Bengals running back Cedric Benson was arrested today for an incident that occurred, allegedly, 30 days ago.
And while the NFL and the Bengals necessarily know about the arrest, given the widespread publicity it has received, it remains to be seen whether the league and/or the team knew about the incident that gave rise to Benson’s cruise in the back of a cruiser.
The Personal Conduct Policy contains clear language regarding the obligations of a player who potentially commits a violation: “The League must be advised promptly of any incident that may be a violation of this policy, and particularly when any conduct results in an arrest or other criminal charge. Players and club employees must report any such incident to the club, which must then report it to NFL Security at (800) NFL-XXXX. Failure to report an incident will constitute conduct detrimental and will be taken into consideration in making disciplinary determination under this policy. Clubs are also required to report incidents that come to their attention.”
The two questions as to Benson become, first, whether he reported the incident to the Bengals and, second, whether the Bengals reported the incident to the NFL.
Given that Benson’s agents reportedly had been trying to get Cedric a new contract, our guess is that Benson told no one about the situation (including his agents), and that he assumed/hoped/prayed nothing would come of it.
So is it fair to impose enhanced penalties on Benson if he simply thought it was a minor skirmish that would blow over? Given the language of the Personal Conduct Policy, yes.