Cedric Benson’s non-injury grievance rejected, suspension stands


On Friday, Bengals running back Cedric Benson presented to an outside arbitrator a grievance regarding his one-game suspension (plus one-game fine) for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy during the lockout.  Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the grievance has been rejected.

Benson didn’t expect to play on Sunday, even if he prevailed.  It’s somewhat surprising that the ruling came as quickly as it did.

He’ll be eligible to rejoin the team on Monday.  A separate unfair labor practice charge against the NFLPA filed with the National Labor Relations Board is still pending; if successful, Benson possibly could recover the lost wages from his suspension and fine directly from the union.

We’ll have more on some of the developments from the hearing, specifically as it relates to the much-disputed August 4 letter agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, later tonight.

15 responses to “Cedric Benson’s non-injury grievance rejected, suspension stands

  1. I’m still confused at how someone can violate the leagues personal conduct policy during the lock-out.

    It just doesn’t make sense.

  2. I have no sympathy for Benson but in this particular matter he is 100% right.

    The arrest took place in July of 2011. At that time there was 1) No union (decertified) 2) Players were locked out by owners 3) Benson was unsigned by any team-he was as a civilian.

    Yet Goodell rationalizes punishing him anyway? Thats a hell of a stretch….

  3. Normally I side with the league on matters of discipline, but in this case I have to agree with Benson. Not because of the lockout or the fact that the union had decertified, but because he was a free agent at the time. He was not under contract to any team, therefore he was not a member of the NFL. I don’t see how he can be accountable for not adhering to NFL rule when he was not a member of the NFL.

  4. For those of you who do not understand why the league can still enforce their policy during a lockout, it is becasue a locked-out workforce legally is still a workforce. As to the part about about being a free-agent, while not being signed directly to a team a free-agent is still a member of the union until he files his retirement papers, therefore a free-agent is subject to the same conduct rules as any member of the union. The real question is why the union agreed to allow some players to be disciplined for conduct during the lockout. Considering that the CBA had expired, while Benson would be subject to any conduct policies in place regardless of the lockout or his free-agent status, there were no conduct rules in place at the time. The union had to agree to new put the conduct policy into the new governing CBA and when it would take effect. The union agreed to allow Benson and (5?) other players to be subject to suspenion while not agreeing to allow the policy to apply to other players during the just-ended lock out. That is the part that is confusing, it seems to me the union should have fought all suspensions or allowed all suspensions.

  5. I’m on Benson’s side on this. Goodell (the meglomaniac) should have no power over a civilian act when Benson was not connected with any team or the league. I understand the NFL’s desire to be squeaky-clean, but this is absurd.

  6. or, lets say u want to go to work in a particular industry.

    they have rules normally.

    they dont have to hire u or keep u if u dont follow their rules.

    u go ahead and do something that yer target industry frowns upon. publicly. see what happens…


    benson may have an issue in that he is being singled out.

    that’s all.

    a bunch of other guys broke league policies and werent punished. yet.

  7. urberniner,

    You do realize that Benson while not connected with any specific team was very much connected to the league. As I mentioned, people overlook the fact that a free-agent is still a member of the union. And while the union disclaimed its bargaining interest it did not disband during the lockout. Benson was still subject to the rules that applied to all union members. Like I said above, the real question is why the union agreed to allow a handful of players to face suspension as a result of conduct during the lockout while they prevented it for the rest of the union. Whether you like the NFL policies or not, they said that they intended to enforce the conduct policy for actions during the lockout and the union gave them authority to do just that. This is completely a union issue and it is why Benson has filed a claim against the union at the NLRB. Considering there was no CBA in effect and therefore no conduct rules at the time all the union had to do was not agree to any retroactive rules in the new CBA (but apparently they traded that away as it apllied to handful of players in return for some other concession one would assume)

  8. hail2tharedskins,
    You are 1,000,000% wrong. The union DID DISBAND during the lockout. The players voted on it and it disbanded in a landslide. That is a crystal clear FACT. They were claiming to be an “association” but most positively NOT a union. Which is why Benson has a valid argument, regardless of whether or not he’s a dirtbag. The players union is a legal entity and is going to have some explaining to do with the NLRB. They were playing legal games with their union status with illegitimate intentions, making a mockery of unions (although many are a joke). They filed legal documents and executed legal proceedings claiming to NOT BE A UNION. They were playing both sides of the fence which may prove to be quite costly to the “union.”

  9. A precedent was set with Pryor. He wasn’t apart of the league or the NFLPA when tatoogate occurred and the NFL still suspended him. Unfortunately for Benson, it appears the NFL can do whatever they want.

  10. It’s unfair labor practices is what it is…. the NFL is really the only place you can do that job (play football). So if they want to slap your hand for doing something bad when you weren’t their employee they can.

    Pryor (the kid who got a couple of tats).. same boat. Four game suspension for something he didn’t do AS an employee of the NFL.

    I guess if you look at it though, it’s like doing drugs. You might not be employed with a company but if you do drugs before you try to work for them they won’t hire you.

    I don’t agree with any of it but that’s corporations controlling america for you. (I’m the 99% heh)

  11. golflegal,

    You really should know what you are talking about before you tell someone else how wrong they are. The NFLPA absolutely never disbanded! They voted to disclaim interest in collective bargaining but they never disbanded, in fact they made a point of calling themselves a ‘trade association’, the NFLPA never at any point ever disbanded so the players were always members of the NFLPA and subject to its guideslines. Now that’s a fact whether you want to accept it or not. You are getting hung up with the term ‘union’, which the union claims it was not, but regardless of whatever you call it, it never disbanded – the NFLPA did not cease to exist at anypoint this year!

  12. Hail2,

    If it is true, as you say, that “… while the union disclaimed its bargaining interest it did not disband during the lockout. Benson was still subject to the rules that applied to all union members,” then my bad.

    Before we finally draw the curtain, it would be interesting to see how a judge would rule on the meaning of “disband” and to what extent the union maintained any control over the situation.

    I appreciate your clarification. It makes much more sense. And, oh yes, there is the matter of differential treatment to some players.

    I still say, give the guy a chance. He is a man who seems to be trying to turn things around.

  13. hail2tharedskins,
    Fail! An association is not a UNION. The only enforceable power an “association” has if someone violates their rules is to expell them from their association…(big freakin deal?!?!?!) Somehow you’re missing the boat about the fact that THERE WAS NO CBA IN PLACE WHATSOEVER to establish what rules/guidelines existed. Again, Benson may be a dirtbag. But the only enforceable penalties imposed on him should be those of the local police department where he got in trouble.

    Sure, whenever anyone gets hired for any job they have the burden of explaining their past. It could result in not getting a job, getting paid less, a probationary period, etc. In the case of Benson it was no secret about his troubles, but he still was offered a contract. C’mon man…Do your homework.

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