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NFL reduces Benson suspension to one game

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The NFL has reduced the suspension of Bengals running back Cedric Benson to one game.  He’ll miss the teams post-bye trip to Seattle.

The NFL initially had suspended three games under the personal conduct policy.  Benson appealed the decision, and he filed a non-injury grievance and an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Along with the suspension, for which he’ll lose one week of pay, Benson also has been fined a game check.

The five-page decision from hearing officer Harold R. Henderson, a copy of which PFT has obtained, points out that Benson has been arrested four times in four years, and that his most recent two arrests were resolved by a plea agreement of August 29, 2011, which resulted in Benson serving five days in jail.  Henderson finds the plea agreement “to be sufficient basis to impose discipline” under the personal conduct policy.

Since the plea agreement applied to an incident from 2010 and a 2011 arrest that occurred during the lockout, the decision takes a little steam out of the notion that Benson is being punished for misconduct occurring at a time when the league had locked out the players.  But since Henderson did not specifically find that discipline was being imposed only for the 2010 incident, Benson could continue to pursue arguments that at least part of the discipline arises from an incident for which he never should have been disciplined.

Complicating matters for the NFLPA is the fact that Henderson rejected the union’s claim that the August 4, 2011 letter agreement regarding lockout misconduct preserves the ability of Benson and seven other repeat offenders to avoid discipline.  This could keep the NLRB claim against the union alive, and it could make things politically delicate for the NFLPA and its executive director, DeMaurice Smith, as Smith approaches the end of his three-year contract and presumably hopes to be re-elected.

UPDATE: Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer discussed the news on PFT Live.

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15 Responses to “NFL reduces Benson suspension to one game”
  1. iambadkid says: Oct 18, 2011 1:09 PM

    benson should be traded to seattle, the seahawks need a running back

  2. dirtyjersey9er says: Oct 18, 2011 1:11 PM

    So far the Bengals are having a pretty good week for themselves.

  3. 561bengal says: Oct 18, 2011 1:13 PM

    Great day to be a Bengals fan.

  4. mjfjd says: Oct 18, 2011 1:13 PM

    10/18 is now bengals day.

  5. Steeler's Will says: Oct 18, 2011 1:26 PM

    Does the punishment fit the crime? Thumbs up for yes, thumbs down for no.

  6. scoobyscraps says: Oct 18, 2011 1:29 PM

    Anyone else find the timing of this interesting? I think Goodell called Mike Brown about the trade stuff and told him it would be good for the league, Bengals, etc. and oh yeah, we’ll drop the suspension of Benson down to 1 game if you stop holding Palmer hostage. Am I reaching here??

  7. jakek2 says: Oct 18, 2011 1:30 PM

    OK. I have had my fill of Bengals news for the season. Please go back to 10 posts on the Giants and Dream Team.


  8. xli2006 says: Oct 18, 2011 1:47 PM

    The NFL’s 20 year ban on the Bengals being relevant has been lifted.

    Enjoy it Cincy, you’ve waited long enough. Now spread the word so you can:
    1) Sellout Games
    2) Watch this Team on TV
    3) Enjoy the 2 1st Round Picks you stole from Oakland
    4) maintain Relevancy

  9. nineroutsider says: Oct 18, 2011 1:50 PM

    Weird…a guy gets suspended for 3 games before the season starts or at the beginning of the season. Now his team is surprisingly 4-2 and the suspension goes down to 1 game. Is it just me or is there a connection there? Seems to happen a lot…weird.

  10. bigdaddybullwhip says: Oct 18, 2011 1:59 PM

    This is a day that will go down in Bengals history.
    The franchise has turned the corner to greatness. Nice job Mike.

  11. peytonwantsaflag says: Oct 18, 2011 2:06 PM

    wadda you know – good things do seem to happen when people perceive you as a winner. Too much of this kind of stuff can go to your head – no wonder Stealer fans are such ________ (fill in the blank)

  12. jimlemon27 says: Oct 18, 2011 2:09 PM

    I guess getting arrested is not as bad as being accused of something!

  13. jacksaysfu says: Oct 18, 2011 2:44 PM

    As a Philly family I wished we could have suckered OAK for Young , but Cincy is making things happen today and soon they’re gonna be gonna be a legitamite Super Bowl contender. Color me impressed Bengals fans!

  14. johntonioholmes says: Oct 18, 2011 3:19 PM

    It’s a good thing he was actually arrested and charged for a crime. If he had just been accused, he would have served a four game suspension to start the season.

  15. habsman says: Oct 18, 2011 6:50 PM

    I wonder what his ex “room mate” thinks.

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