October 31, 2014

PFT: Benson Filing Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against NFLPA

We posted a story earlier this week regarding a potential 3-game suspension of RB Cedric  Benson for his latest legal entanglements, a report Benson did not immediately confirm.

We later got word that Benson and his representation were appealing the decision next week.  Now Mike Florio at PFT has word that Benson is not only appealing the decision, but is also filing an unfair labor practices charge against the NFLPA for exposing him to the potential of a suspension as part of the recent CBA negotiations.

And as Florio points out, Benson has some very strong arguments.  You can read the entire text of the Florio column here.

Per the piece, the main arguments Benson plans to present are:

  • The NFLPA was disbanded at the time of the incidents.  This means they had no right to agree to any disciplinary action for events occuring during the lockout, nor could they invoke any punishment of their own.
  • Benson was a free agent at the time–he was not under any contract with any team.  In essense then, he was not an employee of the NFL and therefore not subject to NFL discipline.  Have you ever had a new employer suspend you for things you did before your hire date?
  • The NFLPA included Benson (and Bengals DB Adam Jones) in the “group of 8″ players that were eligible in their eyes for disciplinary action during the CBA negotiations, but Benson was not informed of this at any point.  This lack of communication to Benson represents a critical failure by the NFLPA and was unfair.
  • The NFLPA did not respond to multiple inquires from Benson as to his status regarding offseason conduct. This information would have been of immense value to Benson as well as the Bengals.

In short, Benson was not under the jurisdiction of the NFL or the NFLPA during the time the incidents occurred, and therefore neither should be able to discipline him.  Additionally, communication to Benson on his status was non-existent, despite his own efforts to find out.

This appears to give Ced some good legal standing to fight the suspension.  It also should call into question the NFLPA*’s efforts to protect their constituency during the lockout negotiations.