Un-Burning Cedric Benson
Too often people criticize the media for splashing high profile arrests across page one while burying the eventual acquittals somewhere between obituaries and classifieds. In the case of Cedric Benson, let's hope that doesn't happen -- but don't bet on it.
For those who don't remember, the former Chicago Bears running back became the butt of many jokes last May after he was arrested for BWI (boating while intoxicated) on Lake Travis near Austin, Texas. Then, as if to give Roger Goodell even more noose, Benson was arrested on June 7th for operating a vehicle (this time a car) while intoxicated. Two day later the Bears cut him.
But it turns out he didn't do it, or at least there wasn't sufficient evidence to go to trial. According to reports Thursday, two Travis County grand juries found no probable cause to indict Benson on either count. This is a complete vindication for the maligned Benson, who picked the worse possible time to get arrested.
Last summer was the season of example-making in the NFL and Benson fit the profile. The fourth overall draft pick in 2005 had been injured, had run afoul of the law and seemed to carry that cocky-streak of spoiled, individuality that pro-football teams abhor.
But despite all that Cedric Benson is innocent. He lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary for crimes he didn't commit. His career was slowed and his name besmirched. As his attorney Sam Bassett pointed out: "I hope that this situation reminds us all that not every person who is arrested for a crime is guilty."
While it seems the press may have taken that message to heart by not completely burying this story, it remains to be seen if anyone in the NFL will help Benson rebuild his career as quickly as the Bears derailed it this summer.
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