New Rule: Get Arrested And You’re Guilty

OK. So let me get this straight: aloof running back gets arrested while on a boat in Austin with his mother, his friends, and several female friends (all white, let’s note) and contests the police account, saying he was mistreated and abused. Last Saturday, he gets pulled over and arrested for DUI charges, but maintains that he passed a sobriety test and is innocent of the charges.

Without either of the charges being borne out, he is released by his employer. In what fucking world does this make any sort of sense whatsoever?

This is the world of the NFL, where you can lose your job even if you are completely innocent of any charges against you. Welcome to the real world of the NFL, Cedric Benson — the running back was released from the Bears after last weekend’s arrest, with GM Jerry Angelo expressing the franchise’s supposed frustration with the first-round pick.

Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate. As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions. When individual priorities overshadow team goals, we suffer the consequences as a team. Those who fail to understand the importance of ‘team’ will not play for the Chicago Bears.

Bears management needed an excuse to cut Benson. He has underperformed, but has not had the benefit of a well-put together O-line the past year or a quarterback that is any consistent threat in the passing game — as such, it meant he would probably get one more shot this year to show the form that made him a first round pick.

But voila, two arrests and no convictions are enough to throw him out the window. Just how an arrest without any form of conviction or basis was enough to get rid of Tank Johnson (I don’t mean the weapons charges, I mean the DUI afterwards that really wasn’t.) This is the world Roger Goodell has created and the standard he has set — and every other player in the league ought to be incensed (unless you are Jared Allen. now of the Vikings, which means you’re glad you got off easy last year in KC.)

If Benson pleaded guilty or no contest to either charge, it would be a different story. But as of right now, he believes both arrests are unjustified and is willing to challenge the matter in court. Would that the Bears be only that willing to allow due process to play out, but this is Lord Rog’s World, and frankly, it’s time Gene Upshaw and the NFLPA did something to exert some sort of check and balance on teams

The owners have handed the NFLPA a golden opportunity by deciding to drop out of the CBA for 2011.  Now Upshaw needs to prove his worth by giving the men he represents at least a chance at due process for off-the-field incidents.

Photo: Jim Prishing/Chicago Tribune

I Think I Have A Business Model That Might Work

Generally, I don’t take a whole lot of particular joy in writing “jock getting in trouble” stories; those of you who have read this site for a while have noticed that the “police blotter” tag is getting less and less of a workout because there’s no fun in it and most of it contributes to a very skewed view of athletes.

But every time a high-profile athlete gets a DUI, I just have to shake my head at the whole damn thing. Not because it’s wrong (obviously) and or oh-so-easy to avoid when you’re fucking loaded, but because I see a serious business opportunity for anyone with some start-up cash, and I wish it would be me. So when I read about Carmelo Anthony getting pulled over for a DUI (and let’s just note that the blood tests are NOT in, he was arrested on “suspicion of DUI”), I kept thinking of that business opportunity.

Famous athletes are like you and me — we all like to party, they have a better budget to do so. They like a tipple now and then, and the problem is that the standards of what’s legally drunk is down to .08 everywhere and you don’t need that kind of attention.

So, if I happened to know a baller or two, I’d propose this plan: start a nation-wide network of high-class limo services catering to the rich and famous, keep them out of trouble with the cops with a network of driers available when they hit the town.

I’d need to know a few ballers who liked to party, but word of mouth and trustworthiness would make it a hit. Teams would contract for it, and it would keep guys off the front pages for dumb decisions that all of us have made at one time or another. (Most of you out there, if you drink, have had to drive when you know you could have been legally hauled off for DUI but have hearty constitutions and didn’t show it on the way home. No, I certainly don’t advocate this.)

Maybe I’d call it “Off-Court Transport” or something catchy like that.

Photo courtesy of Denver Police Department