Cedric Benson proclaims innocence, Goodell to give Vince Young a pass?

Fantasy KnuckleheadsCorrespondent IJune 30, 2010

CINCINNATI - JANUARY 9: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the New York Jets during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Yesterday we reported that NFL running back, Cedric Benson had been arrested and released on bail following a May 30th scuffle outside an Austin, Texas bar. During the encounter, Benson allegedly made a racially divisive comment and punched a bouncer at Annie’s West, a bar in the Sixth Street entertainment district of Austin.

Both Benson and his counsel of record said they would release a statement later in the day.

Benson then hired attorney David Cornwell, who also represented Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in his recent alleged assault incident. After which Cornwell released this statement:

“Late last month at a nightclub, Cedric Benson was asked to take pictures with some female fans. A man approached Cedric and objected to him posing for pictures with the women. Cedric explained that he had been asked to pose with the women and the man punched Cedric.

“An altercation followed and while Cedric was leaving the club, he was approached by another man aggressively. Believing this man was a friend of the man who had punched him; Cedric attempted to protect himself and continued out of the club. Immediately upon leaving the club, Cedric called the police. He was interviewed by the police and left the area.

“Two weeks ago while he was in Cincinnati, Cedric was contacted by a detective investigating the incident in Texas. Apparently, the second man who approached Cedric is an employee of the night club and claimed that Cedric punched him. Cedric agreed to be interviewed upon his return to Texas and provided his return date. Cedric was not contacted by the detective upon his return. This morning Cedric received a telephone call advising him that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Cedric voluntarily made himself available, was taken into custody, and was released earlier today after posting bond.

Partners in crime may both avoid suspension.

“Upon his release, Cedric contacted Coach Marvin Lewis and the Commissioner’s office to notify the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL of these events. Though we adamantly dispute that Cedric committed a crime, Cedric will continue to cooperate with law enforcement, the Bengals and the NFL in their investigation of these events.”

There are two sides to every story, and usually the truth lies somewhere in between, however it seems that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is known for his lack of tolerance in these issues is so far taking the matter lightly according to a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

“We’ll see if this is true, but have been told by a league source familiar with Cedric Benson’s case that it is ‘very minor.’”

Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com also believes Benson will not be suspended, stating:

“I don’t think Benson will be suspended by the league for a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy. The  NFL office on Tuesday said they are looking into the matter, but as a guidepost Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Sunday in an interview with Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez that Titans QB Vince Young will probably not face a suspension. The key though is whether Goodell looks at the incidents two years ago with Benson when factoring in the decision. While Benson was cleared of charges in both cases, the policy states that one does not have to be found guilty of a crime to still face league action.”

-Fantasy Impact-

Nothing changes really on the fantasy side of the ball with this information. Vince Young is currently ranked 29th at QB and that isn’t likely to change much before the season starts.

And as Ray Tannock and I both mentioned yesterday, we see Bernard Scott as a nice sleeper pick in 2010 regardless of whether or not Benson misses time over this incident.