Benson’s arrest justified?

Posted: May 5, 2008 in Football, Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

AUSTIN, Tex. – The NFL is no doubt a 12-month sport. Between trades, controversy and offseason workouts, there is always something going on that attempts to steal the spotlight from whatever sport is in season at the time.


So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Chicago Bears are the in news. After all, rookie minicamp started on Friday and so far things look positive.


Then there’s Cedric Benson. Apparently he couldn’t take rookie running back Matt Forte getting so much positive attention from the team’s coaching staff and fans.


The most logical response would be to step up his training and prove that he is the franchise back worthy of retaining the starting role. Instead, he decided to party it up in Austin and was arrested Saturday for boating while intoxicated and also charged with resisting arrest.


He, of course, denies being drunk and resisting arrest.


“Once we got to land, the Travis County police grabbed me and kicked my feet from under me,” Benson told the Chicago Tribune. “So I landed on my back while I was handcuffed. They held me down and held the water hose over my face. I couldn’t breathe, I’m choking, I’m begging the cops, ‘Please stop. Please stop.’ Then they picked me up and dragged me backward toward their car. And I’m still being polite, asking them, ‘Sir, could you please allow me to walk like a man to your cop car?’ They just kept dragging me on.” 


As much as Bears fans and the media don’t want to see Benson in a Bears uniform, it would be a mistake to rush judgment and assume he was in the wrong. While he might have had prior off the field troubles, he has largely stayed out of the negative spotlight other than his poor play on the field. The quiet running back from Texas is disputing the charges with the backing of his attorney.


Not knowing much about the incident, Bears head coach Lovie Smith is also giving him the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.


“I haven’t had a chance to speak with Cedric yet, but anytime we’re talking about one of our players getting arrested, you’re disappointed in it,” Smith told media at Halas Hall. “What we’re going to do from here, I’ll go back and try to get as much information as I possibly can and go from there.”


Many critics have jumped to conclusions and have already classified this as another Tank Johnson incident. That could not be further from the truth. Nobody was killed or violated probation. Benson was simply partying with some friends and, as far as what he is telling the media, was wrongly charged. It will still be interesting to see how this plays out.




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