Posted by Ryan Wilson
Bengals running back Cedric Benson was arrested last weekend on assault charges after a former roommate accused Benson of roughing him up on an Austin, Texas, street corner. It wasn't Benson's first run-in with the law, and if nothing else, allowed for another "The Bengals lead the league in arrests" posts.
But according to Benson's attorneys, the alleged victim was trying to extort money from their client.
"Thomas Crosley, the attorney for Clavens 'Miami' Charles, the individual involved in the incident with Cedric Benson this weekend, contacted us yesterday to demand a 'settlement' meeting," Benson's attorneys said in a statement released Thursday. "This attorney stated that if we did not respond within a short period, Mr. Charles would respond to media requests, including a request for an interview from TMZ. We have learned that Mr. Charles’ representatives have contacted at least one public relations firm to assist them with publicity."
Benson's attorneys said that not only is there "nothing to settle with Charles," but that they "intend to confront Charles in defending the misdemeanor charges against Cedric. Cedric did not act without provocation."
By Friday morning, PFT had received a statement from Charles' attorney which, surprisingly, denied the extortion charges leveled by Benson's attorneys (if we've learned anything it's this: lawyers are remarkably proficient at gumming things up):
“Earlier this week Clavens Charles was the victim of an unprovoked violent assault by Cedric Benson that resulted in his hospitalization,” the attorney’s statement said. “Today Clavens Charles has been the victim of an equally violent media smear campaign by the attorneys representing Cedric Benson. . . . No money demand was ever made to Cedric Benson or his legal counsel. Money was never mentioned by us at any time.”
We have no idea where the truth lies, but as PFT's Michael David Smith notes, this photo of Charles in the hospital sure makes it look as if he was the victim of a violent crime.
Whatever happens, Benson will be a free agent once the lockout ends, and his latest arrest could affect his NFL future.
(Which again raises the philosophical question: Do the Bengals attract players who struggle to work within the confines of the law or are those players corrupted once they're Bengals?)
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