May 05, 2008
By now, I'm sure you've heard about Cedric Benson's nautical misadventures this weekend. The Bears running back was out on his boat with about 15 other people when the authorities came board for a "random safety inspection." And as so many random safety inspections do, this one ended with someone taking a blast of pepper spray in the grill.
In the course of their inspection, the police determined that Ced's craft was seaworthy, but that Ced was not. According to officers, he failed the field sobriety test (How do they do that at sea? Do they make you swim in a straight line?), turned combative, and then vehemently resisted arrest.
"We were in a cove with a lot of other boats filled with young people partying," Benson said. There was alcohol on board his boat but he was not drunk, Benson said. When police boarded to check if the boat met all safety standards, it did -- enough life jackets for everyone on board, working fire extinguisher and a proper license, Benson said.
"I get pulled over every time I take my boat out," Benson said. "It's Austin, Texas. They know me."
Police say Benson screamed and cursed. Benson says he was polite and called officers "sir" until he got hit with the pepper spray.
Police say that Benson refused to put on a lifejacket. Benson says he was never offered one.
Police say they had to drag and carry Benson to the police car. Benson says that was necessary only because police kept kicking his feet and ankles out from under him so he couldn't walk (and normally, I'd have trouble believing that a professional running back's feet could be taken out so easily, but then again, I've seen Cedric Benson run).
Benson also says that he was sprayed in the face with a water hose until he couldn't speak, and that he's considering filing a lawsuit.
Who to believe? On one hand, it's not the first time Benson's been in trouble, but on the other, it also wouldn't be the first time police mistreated a fellow. And you can look at the mug shot and say, yeah, Benson looks hammered, but that also happens to be how a guy looks after he's been pepper-sprayed.
But no matter who you believe, the Minnesota Vikings title as the top seamen in the NFC North remains unchallenged.
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