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Cedric Benson files unfair labor practice charge against NFLPA

Cedric Benson,  Chris Pressley AP

At a time when the NFL and the NFLPA are squabbling over the question of whether an August 4 letter agreement allows eight repeat offenders to be disciplined for arrests and/or charges filed during the lockout, Bengals running back Cedric Benson has concluded that the NFLPA exposed him to the three-game suspension that he now faces by including him in the group of eight players who could be disciplined by the league.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Benson has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the NFLPA.  Benson challenges the August 4 letter agreement on numerous grounds.

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.

We’re also told that Benson didn’t even know about the August 4 letter agreement, and that the NFLPA failed to respond to efforts on his behalf to obtain information regarding the resolution of the application of the personal conduct policy to incidents occurring during the lockout.

And so the NFLPA is now facing legal challenges not only from retired players regarding the manner in which the labor dispute was resolved, but also from at least one current player.

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44 Responses to “Cedric Benson files unfair labor practice charge against NFLPA”
  1. klee0384 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:15 AM

    I can’t believe I agree with Cedric Benson.

  2. wonderboy18 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:21 AM

    Good move on benson’s part

  3. joetoronto says: Sep 25, 2011 8:21 AM

    “Unfair labor practice” my arse. You would have been out of a job anywhere else but the NFL.

    Cry me a friggin river, loser.

  4. thejuddstir says: Sep 25, 2011 8:22 AM

    It’s time Benson man up and take responsibility for his own actions. It’s always someone else’s fault when he gets himself into trouble. The NFL should find a way to ban the guy for life.

  5. mike913 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:23 AM

    cedric just serve the suspension. cuz chances are with u being the moron u are your most likely gonna do something by the end of the season to get arrested again

  6. gamecheck1 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:23 AM

    If he would keep getting arrested, this wouldn’t be an issue! Can he be sued on the grounds of repeated stupidity?

  7. Topher says: Sep 25, 2011 8:26 AM

    Benson has some pretty good points.

    But when did the NFLPA reform? The lockout ended when? August 3? Also.. the NFLPA was operating as a trade organization during that time. To what extent do trade organizations have authority to work these kinds of agreements (and I think the agreement would be non-binding but am not sure)

    Any smart attorney around (the author of the above perhaps) that can answer these questions?

  8. bucks12965 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:29 AM

    I hate to agree with this jerk about anything, but seems to me that he’s right about this one.

  9. mrbigass says: Sep 25, 2011 8:32 AM

    As he should. Benson is still an idiot but the 8 players being singled out is wrong.

  10. CKL says: Sep 25, 2011 8:34 AM

    This is a situation where the guy definitely has a case based on the information here, but he’s such scum that I don’t really care to see him win it.

  11. rajbais says: Sep 25, 2011 8:37 AM

    I was correct. I do not approve of Benson’s misbehavior, but in a lockout where the workplace is literally suspended and the owners can pocket offseason checks from players these players should have been freed (for the lack of a better phrase) from these rules.

    If these guys were able to be free from the drug bans and possibly take HGH and steroids during the lockout something that has nothing to with the game (but rather the business image) should have been irrelevant too. The NFL’s main focus was to always have integrity placed in the game and now it has let “image” issues go too far because the punishment procedures result into too many inconsistent consequences.

  12. rajbais says: Sep 25, 2011 8:39 AM

    Benson’s suspension shows us why the owners won in the CBA battle. They were able to pocket offseason checks and employ Roger Goodell to punish “unemployed” players unfairly!!!

  13. bonniebengal says: Sep 25, 2011 8:43 AM

    He’s going to win. NFLPA wasn’t a union during the lockout. They can’t decide things regarding him when he wasn’t even a member. Then there’s the fact he was a free agent on top of that.

  14. 23chameleons says: Sep 25, 2011 8:45 AM

    Classic ! Benson’s legal team is going to use the NFL’s own description of the “sham” disbandment of the NFLPA in claiming unfair representation in what appears to be an open and shut case.

    But in a stunning turn of events, DeMaurice Smith has gone to the well with the “Chewbacca” defense.

    Game. Over.

  15. kenboslice says: Sep 25, 2011 8:47 AM

    I do not like Cedric Benson’s off the field escapades, but he has a good point here. The NFLPA* served him up on a platter to the NFL. They were not looking out for his interests like they should of and like they are paid to do.

  16. redrifle14 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:49 AM

    If my company laid me off, then re-hired me 6 months later, and wanted to hold me accountable to company policy at a time I wasn’t even working for them, then I would be mad as hell too. You go Benson!

  17. denverdave3 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:50 AM

    Good boys don’t need to hide behind technicalities.

    “I know I am a perpetual screw-up, but I should get a pass on this one because it was a full moon, and the papers were not filed, and the dog ate my homework and it wasn’t my drugs, and she asked for it, and everybody else does it, and I am a NFL star and the world revolves around me, and I don’t get no breaks.”

  18. Derty Ernie says: Sep 25, 2011 9:30 AM

    Gee Cedic did it ever occur to you that had you not gotten into trouble during the lockout we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Another example of don’t look at what I did look at what others are doing to me.

  19. Derty Ernie says: Sep 25, 2011 9:32 AM

    If a company has a hiring rule that requites a background check and you get laid off, rehired and found to have committed a crime during lay off that doesn’t count? Get real of course it counts and the said company can let you go for cause. It happens all the time.

  20. jpres2001ss says: Sep 25, 2011 9:38 AM

    I’m sure Terell Pryor is listening

  21. r66x says: Sep 25, 2011 9:42 AM

    NFL and Roger Goodell deserve to lose this one. I hope Benson wins….

  22. c0ldestwinter says: Sep 25, 2011 9:45 AM

    To the lawyers in the room – is there any past precedent for this type of thing? A lawyer representing a “class” (in this case NFL players) sacrificing a few members in order to secure a better judgment for the class overall? Doesn’t sound like fair representation to me.

  23. habsman says: Sep 25, 2011 9:51 AM

    All players pay fee or dues as part of their association membership. It is the responsibility of the union to look after the best interest of all members, including scum bags like Benson. Looks like he has a case here.

  24. jutts says: Sep 25, 2011 10:08 AM

    He should quit beating up his boyfriends.

  25. richm2256 says: Sep 25, 2011 10:11 AM

    redrifle14 says:
    Sep 25, 2011 8:49 AM
    If my company laid me off, then re-hired me 6 months later, and wanted to hold me accountable to company policy at a time I wasn’t even working for them, then I would be mad as hell too. You go Benson!

    ———————————————————
    Benson remained under contract during the lockout. He wasn’t free to go sign with any other NFL team. In essence, all NFL players were “suspended” during the lockout; they weren’t “NOT EMPLOYED” by their teams. If they WERE, they would have been able to sign with any team they wanted to once the lockout was over.

    As a “suspended” employee, they are still accountable for their actions during the lockout. Benson committed a crime, and even served his sentence, during the lockout, while he was still technically a Bengals employee, a “suspended” one. The NFL has every right to discipline him for those actions.

    They agreed, however, to not use that right, if the “union” agreed to not contest the suspension of thos eight players. Benson was definitely sold down the river by his union in that letter.

    I don’t feel bad for him though, because dude has shown an inability to protect his career by not getting repeatedly arrested. If you repeatedly behave in a manner that violates society’s laws, you’re going to get arrested. If you repeatedly get arrested, bad things are going to happen to you.

    You don’t want to get suspended, Cedric Benson? Don’t do things to repeatedly get yourself arrested. Don’t blame the NFL or the “union”, look in the MIRROR.

  26. quirtevans says: Sep 25, 2011 10:20 AM

    “They can’t decide things regarding him when he wasn’t even a member. ”

    You have to draw a line between the NFL and the NFLPA on this one.

    As far as the NFL is concerned, I think there’s a legitimate case to be made that they cannot enforce league rules with respect to conduct during a lockout.

    However, the NFLPA seems to have handled this in an appropriate manner. Have you read the actual letter? It says that no one other than the eight listed players can be disciplined for conduct during the lockout.

    What was the NFLPA supposed to do if the NFL refused to budge? Hold up the entire CBA over it?

    In effect, what the NFLPA did was protect everyone but eight players. And, with respect to the eight, they said to Goodell, “we hear you, but we aren’t agreeing to anything.” They didn’t accede to the imposition of discipline on Benson. They simply didn’t include him on the list of people … everyone in the union, except for eight guys … protected from discipline.

    And that let the season go forward.

    Benson may win his appeal against the NFL. There’s no way he should be able to blame the NFLPA for this one, though.

  27. thejuddstir says: Sep 25, 2011 10:57 AM

    To my knowledge, all states are “hire at will, fire at will” when it comes to employment. A job is a privelege, not a right….if an employer decides that an employee’s or perspective employee’s personal actions are a detriment to their company, they should be able to discipline as they see fit. There are laws that protect an individual’s legal employee rights but no employer should be required to employ a criminal….Benson should be glad that he still has a job……period.

  28. bonniebengal says: Sep 25, 2011 10:58 AM

    ichm2256 says:

    richm22 says:
    ———————————————————
    “Benson remained under contract during the lockout. He wasn’t free to go sign with any other NFL team. In essence, all NFL players were “suspended” during the lockout; they weren’t “NOT EMPLOYED” by their teams. If they WERE, they would have been able to sign with any team they wanted to once the lockout was over.”

    Benson was NOT under contract. he was a free agent, and YES, he could have signed with any team when the lockout was over.

  29. sikoix says: Sep 25, 2011 11:02 AM

    Benson may be a turd, but the union tossing him under the bus is more disturbing than a simple assault. Rich people and lawyers love to have their cake and eat it too — it would be disgusting to have this suspension upheld.

  30. vincentbojackson says: Sep 25, 2011 11:05 AM

    He should sue the Bengals for unfair working conditions.

  31. jwbelt says: Sep 25, 2011 11:23 AM

    I’m with Ced on this…they threw him under the bus.

    So, his off-field conduct may not have gotten him the big payday contract, but he should sue the hell out of the NFLPA – he might even recover something there.

  32. 303bengalguy says: Sep 25, 2011 11:32 AM

    At what point do we officially declare DeMaurice Smith to have been theeeee WORST head of the NFLPA ever???

  33. hopelesslylooking4intelligenceonpft says: Sep 25, 2011 12:09 PM

    quirtevans says:
    ———————————————————
    “However, the NFLPA seems to have handled this in an appropriate manner. Have you read the actual letter? It says that no one other than the eight listed players can be disciplined for conduct during the lockout.

    “What was the NFLPA supposed to do if the NFL refused to budge? Hold up the entire CBA over it?”

    Yes, they were. A union is obligated to protect *all* of it’s dues-paying members. Anything less is a breach of their agreement.

  34. backindasaddle says: Sep 25, 2011 12:28 PM

    Not that I’m a fan of Cedric Benson. He’s a low life. However, I think he’s got a case in this matter. If the union was not in existence and he was not under contract by any team and thus not an “employee” and not “employed” then why should the league have any right whatsoever to discipline him for his actions during that time period? Furthermore, if the NFLPA agreed that only certain players could be disciplined and others couldn’t, that is an obvious discrimination and would add validity to his case.

  35. backindasaddle says: Sep 25, 2011 12:29 PM

    But he’s still a low life regardless.

  36. quirtevans says: Sep 25, 2011 7:42 PM

    ““However, the NFLPA seems to have handled this in an appropriate manner. Have you read the actual letter? It says that no one other than the eight listed players can be disciplined for conduct during the lockout.

    “What was the NFLPA supposed to do if the NFL refused to budge? Hold up the entire CBA over it?”

    Yes, they were. A union is obligated to protect *all* of it’s dues-paying members. Anything less is a breach of their agreement.”

    Uh, no. Wrong. In every collective bargaining agreement … every single one … some subset of employees get screwed. Whether it’s workplace rules, or seniority, or something else, some group winds up getting a better deal than some other group. That’s the way it works.

    When the NFLPA negotiated a rookie wage with the NFL, they screwed this year’s rookies, and every rookie class for the next ten years. Do you think that Cam Newton was happy about the deal that the NFLPA cut on his behalf? Do you think he would have rather gotten Stafford money?

    I’m afraid that you don’t understand the responsibilities of a union to its members, in a collective bargaining context.

  37. quirtevans says: Sep 25, 2011 7:44 PM

    “if the NFLPA agreed that only certain players could be disciplined and others couldn’t, that is an obvious discrimination”

    All discrimination isn’t illegal. Every company discriminates, every day. They discriminate between talented and untalented employees. They discriminate between lazy workers and hard workers.

    Discrimination is only illegal if it is based on certain types of suspect classifications. Race. Religion. National origin.

    Discriminating on the basis of criminal record? That’s perfectly legal. Employers refuse to hire ex-cons every day of the week.

  38. bungalized says: Sep 25, 2011 8:22 PM

    To all the wannabe lawyers who believe Benson’s case is airtight, have you ever been a candidate for a job in which employment was conditional upon passing a background check? Benson’s criminal past would disqualify him from working for most Fortune 500 companies. He’s only getting a suspension here, as an employee of the NFL, even though he may not have been a member of any team at the time of the incident.

  39. savannahrose44 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:28 PM

    Stop making excuses for your bad behavior. Take it like a man.

  40. pooflingingmonkey says: Sep 25, 2011 8:30 PM

    @mike913 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:23 AM

    “cedric just serve the suspension. cuz chances are with u being the moron u are your most likely gonna do something by the end of the season to get arrested again”

    I bet Cedric can put together a more coherent sentence than you just did. School much?

  41. dlmcc1010 says: Sep 25, 2011 8:39 PM

    The better question is why cant this loser stay out of trouble?

  42. FinFan68 says: Sep 25, 2011 9:31 PM

    redrifle14 says:
    Sep 25, 2011 8:49 AM
    If my company laid me off, then re-hired me 6 months later, and wanted to hold me accountable to company policy at a time I wasn’t even working for them, then I would be mad as hell too. You go Benson!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    He wasn’t laid off. The lockout is roughly the same as when a company has a mandatory furlough. You are not fired; you just can’t work/get paid during the furlough. The company rules should still be valid during that time.

    Benson’s case may have a stronger chance than others since he was a free agent and not under contract of any NFL team.

    The NFLPA didn’t really have the right to single out some of its members as sacrificial lambs…especially since they were not a union (according to them) during the lockout.

    My prediction: Benson wins his case against the NFLPA and the letter is voided because they can’t single out specific players, thereby making all players susceptible to the conduct policy for lockout time-frame issues. Benson gets suspended anyway (since he is no longer being singled out) and no other “new” suspensions for lockout stuff will be pursued by the league.

  43. bluepalaski says: Sep 27, 2011 1:27 PM

    Re comment:
    “To all the wannabe lawyers who believe Benson’s case is airtight, have you ever been a candidate for a job in which employment was conditional upon passing a background check? Benson’s criminal past would disqualify him from working for most Fortune 500 companies. He’s only getting a suspension here, as an employee of the NFL, even though he may not have been a member of any team at the time of the incident.”

    Your argument does not hold any water. The NFL, through the Cincinnati Bengals, hired Cedric Benson with “background check” in hand. The NFL allows its teams (the team owners in fact “own” the NFL) and employ Roger Goodell as their Commisioner. The NFL knows and knew Cedric Benson’s history before they allowed him to re-enter the league by hiring him as a free agent.

    The NFL (employer) basically allowed Cedric Benson to be hired back into the league, knowing full well that he had a history and that he had legal action pending. They want their cake and to eat it too.

    To those commenting, can you put your bias toward Cedric Benson aside. Perhaps Benson would have accepted a 1-game suspension, likely not, but perhaps. You have a player here that was not in a union and was not an employee. He pled “no contest” to the charge. He may have been guilty, he may not have been. He didn’t plead guilty. He actually pled to the benefit of himself and to taxpayers. Quick trial. He painted, mopped floors, etc… for a reducted sentence and was out of jail soon enough not to impact him and his team in terms of the start to the season.

    What would happen if an employer found out an employee smoked marijuana when he/she was in college before hiring them, after said employee passed a blood/urine test and was hired. Let’s assume the employee was entirely truthful on their application. Should an employer be allowed to fire them without cause?

    In this case the NFL and NFLPA tried a work-around to the detriment of Cedric Benson. You can’t blame the guy for trying to stand up to the big boys? I don’t like the guy…at least some of his past actions…but you have to admire him for standing up for himself and any employee that has been fed to the wolves by a union and/or treated like a sheep by an employer.

  44. Topher says: Oct 20, 2011 9:03 AM

    blue palaski,

    I was just reading old posts. Your post is a good one but lets take a look at your marijuana charge:

    Yes, the employer should be allowed to fire them after the fact if the knowledge being found out by a client would jeopardize the relationship with that company.

    Lets take it one step further… the marijuana smoking employee in your example knows that the company they just agreed to work for has a history of punishing employees for past behavior and the company has said right from the very start that punishment for past behavior is likely to occur.

    Your marijuana smoking employee went into a working relationship with the company with the exact same foreknowledge the company went into with the employee.

    In the case of Benson nobody is surprised here. Everyone knew Benson was a dirtbag and everyone knew the league would suspend him. The Bengals thought it was better to have Benson for part of the season than for none of the season and Benson thought the same thing, otherwise both parties wouldn’t have agreed to his working there.

    Nobody surprised anyone with the outcome. It was the expected outcome. Benson is a dirtbag and the League is over-reaching. And the sun rose this morning and the sun set last night.

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