Running out of chances

Bill's Rant

June 11, 2008|By BILL ORDINE

Former Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson certainly hurt himself with his stupidity over the weekend when he was stopped by police for an alleged traffic violation that was compounded by a DUI charge. On top of that, Benson's second arrest in a little over a month creates even more cynicism concerning bad athlete behavior because there was a segment of fans who bought into Benson's contention that his boating incident back in May was a case of over-aggressive police conduct.

In May, Benson was stopped on a Texas lake and cited for boating while intoxicated. He was pepper-sprayed because, police said, he was uncooperative. Benson quickly garnered some public support when he insisted he was not drunk and was completely cooperative. A few other accounts - including one from an apparent impartial party - backed some of Benson's claims.

Then, there was this past weekend's middle-of-the-night traffic stop in Texas. Benson said he was not drunk but admitted to having some alcohol at dinner. While the traffic stop and the boating incident are obviously unrelated in a legal sense, in the court of public opinion, many fans who were leaning toward Benson's version of events in the boating incident likely feel duped now.

Certainly the Bears had enough. They were willing to wait and see after the lake arrest but took about 48 hours to release their 2005 first-round pick after his most recent run-in with the law.

And the next athlete who gets in a jam and says he's the victim of overzealous law enforcement or his own celebrity? Thanks to Benson, he can forget it.

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