Cincy stampede

Are the Bengals on the comeback trail? Plus, not a good week to be ex-Texas.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  July 7, 2010

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CEDRIC BENSON’S arrest for assault has people wondering if the bad old days are back in Cincinnati.
Things have been relatively quiet, sports-crime-wise, for the Cincinnati Bengals lately. Sure, America's police blotters have seen plenty of current and former "Bungals" over the past year, but for a franchise with such disgraceful pedigree, the bar is set pretty high.

The team is starting to heat up again on the knucklehead front, however, and with the arrest of star running back Cedric Benson last week, there are murmurs again about character issues on the club.

Benson was picked up in connection with an incident that took place over Memorial Day weekend at a bar in Austin, Texas. According to multiple reports, Benson got into an argument with another customer before turning his attention to a bar employee. He apparently continued to push and shove even as he was being shown the door.

Once outside, he reportedly complained to passersby that "all these white boys are ganging up on me and kicking me out." When employees of the bar tried to prevent Benson from re-entering the establishment, Benson allegedly punched one of them in the face. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and is out on $5000 bail.

Benson has been in trouble before. He got arrested twice on alcohol-related charges in 2008 and in college was caught breaking into a house to retrieve a television he said had been stolen from him. He may be suspended to start the season, which would be awesome, because the Patriots play the Bengals in week one.

The real question with the Bengals is why they keep acquiring guys with troubled pasts. It's almost like they go out of their way to do it. Just this offseason, the team signed arrest champion Adam "Pacman" Jones and cocaine connoisseur Matt Jones. Wideout Maurice Purify (who was busted in May on a disorderly conduct charge) had multiple arrests at Nebraska, back-up running back Bernard Scott was the "character concerns" all-star of the 2009 draft, and two of their 2010 draft picks also had arrest records.

Give Benson 41 points, and keep an eye on the Bengals. It could be another long year in Cincy.

The long horn of the law
Benson is probably the second-most famous former Texas Longhorn currently playing in the NFL. As it turns out, numbers one and three also found themselves in trouble in the past few weeks.

Vince Young got into it at a strip club in Dallas last month after a club employee made "disparaging remarks about the Longhorns" and "flashed an upside-down 'Hook 'em, horns' hand gesture." According to surveillance video, Young went nuts and punched the guy. Police in Big D were much easier on him than Austin authorities were on Benson — Young was given a class-C assault citation, the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

Ameliorating things, I guess, was the fact that Young later publicly asked a higher power to put in a word with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, to keep Young from being suspended. "I pray to God that Roger Goodell doesn't come down hard on me," he said, "because I definitely want to be here for my teammates."

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