The decision of the NFL to drop the suspension of Bengals running back Cedric Benson from three games to one doesn’t put to rest Benson’s beef with the NFLPA, which apparently agreed on August 4 that Benson and seven other repeat offenders would be subject to discipline for conduct occurring during the lockout.
“Harold Henderson found that the discipline that the NFL initially imposed on Cedric Benson was not warranted and reduced Cedric’s three game suspension to a one game suspension with a one game fine,” Benson’s attorney, David Cornwell, said in a statement released to PFT. “Mr. Henderson’s conclusion that the August 4, 2011 side letter agreement between the NFLPA and the NFL granted the NFL the right to discipline Cedric for conduct occurring during the lockout presents an opportunity for the NFLPA to establish that a different interpretation of the side letter is appropriate. Based on Mr. Henderson’s findings regarding the level of the discipline that is appropriate, but for Mr. Henderson’s interpretation of the August 4 side letter agreement, we are confident that Cedric would not have been suspended at all.”
In other words, Cornwell is inviting the NFLPA to prove that the August 4 letter agreement means something that what it appears to mean. We’ve previously reported that the NFLPA refused to offer testimony at the hearing before Harold Henderson regarding the meaning of the August 4 letter agreement. At some point, the NFLPA has to offer up something more substantive than disagreeing with the plain terms of the letter, especially since the plain terms of the letter seem to indicate that the NFLPA indeed agreed to expose Benson and seven other players to discipline for lockout misconduct.