Sources: NFLPA declined to testify about letter agreement during Benson hearing


One of the key questions regarding the three-game suspension of Bengals running back Cedric Benson relates to whether the NFLPA agreed that Benson and seven other players regarded as repeat offenders could be disciplined for incidents occurring during the lockout.

The centerpiece of the league’s position that the union agreed to this approach is an August 4 letter agreement, signed by NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.  (We’ve previously posted the full text of the letter.)

Per multiple sources, the NFLPA declined during the Benson appeal hearing to offer testimony or other evidence to support its position that the letter agreement doesn’t constitute an agreement that Benson may be disciplined.

The reasons for the union’s position to testify regarding the letter aren’t clear.  If the NFLPA believes that the letter agreement doesn’t allow Benson to be disciplined, the union should have introduced testimony and any other evidence available to support the position, since it would have directly supported Benson’s position that he should not be suspended.

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah declined to respond to this report.

9 responses to “Sources: NFLPA declined to testify about letter agreement during Benson hearing

  1. You said earlier that David Cromwell was representing Benson at the hearing. You have a pipeline to David Cromwell as he is one of your regular guests on PFT Live. Why wouldn’t Cromwell require the NFLPA to give testimony regarding that letter? Why wouldn’t you contact Cromwell to clarify this point instead of just saying it isn’t clear why the NFLPA didn’t give testimony?

  2. So this guy wanted his union to hold up the season so he could avoid facing suspension for his dumass decisions. ??

    Where’s the link to his arrest history again? Let’s all have a look at these upstanding community citizens.

  3. I like de smith but I’m beginning to think cornwell does a better job at representing all players ie pryor, benson, and etc. Seems like smith always gives the nfl what it wants when it comes to fines and personal conduct.

  4. waxedagain,

    Cornwell cannot force the union to give testimony. And since Cornwell has charged the union with an unfair labor practice charge at the NLRB, the union likely doesn’t want to go on record and say anything that will come back to bite them in the butt on the NLRB charge.

    The union is in a bad spot, because either Cornwell and Benson are going to hammer the union or the NFL will. Either the union stands behind the letter and violates its duty to represent Benson or the union violates the agreed upon terms of the letter and thus the CBA. Either way, the union losses. I think the union is hoping that the league eliminates or reduces the suspension and the NLRB claim is withdrawn without them having to go on record.

  5. The Union has obviously realized the conflict of interest they created by throwing several of their members under the bus for the greater good of an agreement. While practical, their agreement to do so violates the rights of the members effected.

  6. @hail2tharedskins: Sorry I got Cornwell’s name wrong – I was flashing back to a thread on this site awhile ago. If your explanation is plausible, than this site’s head honcho can get confirmation from his buddy Cornwell. Cornwell may not be able to force the NFLPA to give testimony, but he can request clarification during that hearing. The NFLPA can’t plead the 5th – they had to respond to Cornwell in front of Pash and Goodell: did the NFLPA stand behind the letter, or not.

  7. Let’s see, the league didn’t want any part of the players that didn’t agree with what they wanted to do so they locked them out of thier jobs. But while they were locked out they want to be able to punish these players that did something they didn’t like. Tells me all I need to know…..

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