Bengals rep says union let down players facing suspensions

CINCINNATI -- Bengals union representative Andrew Whitworth is upset that running back Cedric Benson and other NFL players could face suspensions for offseason incidents.

Benson and cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones are subject to league discipline for arrests that occurred during the NFL's lockout. Eight players overall are facing discipline under the league's personal-conduct policy. Benson, who is pursuing action against the NFL Players Association, has a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Whitworth said Monday he wouldn't have supported the new collective bargaining agreement if he knew players would be suspended for things that happened before the deal was reached.

"I was very shocked," Whitworth said. "It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

"I feel like it's the wrong decision, and I also believe the union let those eight guys down. I don't feel like that was fair. To me, if I was told that was a make-or-break, I would have said that's a make-or-break deal, that we were going to sell out eight guys to have an agreement."

When the deal was reached in July, it was unclear if the league could fine or suspend players who got in trouble during the NFL's 4½-month lockout, when there was no collective bargaining agreement. The NFL Players Association had decertified as part of the labor dispute.

The league and the NFLPA eventually agreed that eight players could be disciplined for incidents in the offseason, while 25 others wouldn't be.

"I feel like it was the wrong decision to allow those guys to be punished," Whitworth said. "They weren't employed (during the lockout) and they didn't have a job, so they shouldn't be able to be punished for it.

"Now, I don't think that them doing stuff is OK. But if no one else can get punished, they shouldn't be able to, either."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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