Many Unanswered Questions

By Gregory Moore
Updated: May 9, 2008

SAN ANTONIO — For as long as I can remember, I have always wrote in this column and in other scenarios that being a professional athlete is a privilege and not a God given right.

Being a professional athlete means you realize that with the privilege comes an enormous amount of responsibility and sometimes that means that you cannot do what the rest of ‘normal’ folk do for entertainment.

The clubbing, partying and the like shouldn’t be part of a pro athlete’s life but I guess that is what being a celebrity is all about; being seen.

But when things go wrong or bad, pro athletes shouldn’t expect any preferential treatment.

Enter one Cedric Benson and his claim that the river police harassed him.

Now whether Benson was harassed as he and many of his friends say or whether he committed some type of crime, here is where I think Cedric has got to be smart; nothing good happens after 9:00 p.m. on Lake Travis.

Common sense, my friend, should be ruling your thought process and if your mother and your friends think that leaving Devil’s Cove at 9:30 p.m. is a smart thing to do then you are all sadly mistaken.

I don’t want to judge Benson’s arrest because I think he may actually have some validity to what has happened to him. The Lower Colorado River Authority may have indeed been a little overzealous in their approach and what they will soon find out is that Benson is a beloved individual of Longhorn lore.

Yet with that said, Benson does have some culpability in the problem that has arisen in his life and that is because he made a very poor choice.

What’s the choice? Piloting a boat at 9:30 p.m. at night.

It may not seem like a big deal and many readers are not going to understand what I am about to say in the next few phrases but it is a reality. When it comes to celebrity in this society, there is a perceived double standard between a white celebrity and a black celebrity.

Am I saying that Benson got a raw deal on the matter?

Look I seriously doubt the LCRA spokesperson can honestly tell me or any other journalist doing a story on this situation that Benson’s arrest was random.

You’d have to be really dumb and society tone deaf to not know whom Cedric Benson is, especially after you have arrested him and you have his identification.

And I don’t believe that Benson was intoxicated either.

Cedric Benson is a lot of things sometimes but stupid he is not.

He will not risk his career.

At least I don’t think he would.

So I’ll give Cedric and his friends a free pass on the intoxication flack.

He, and they, is innocent until proven guilty.

But when it comes to how the LCRA handled this case, their accounts versus several witness statements that outnumber the officers involved leaves a lot of us wondering what machismo point these officers were trying to make.

I make that statement because when you read the accounts from the witnesses, their stories line up with each other and they refute what the river authority said happen.

And it is also in stark contrast to what the river authority has done in a four-year period.

The river police give out warnings more than citations and according to their own statistics, they rarely make an arrest.

So why was Benson arrested if his witnesses say he was cooperating after his boat passed a safety check?

Is the LCRA police force racist? No, but a good attorney can definitely spin it that way.

Which leads me right back to what I said earlier about the machismo factor.

Somewhere in this whole situation Benson raised his voice and got loud.

Somewhere in this situation the police officer ‘thought’ he was in danger.

As men will be boys sometimes, a pissing contest ensued and of course Benson lost.

What was his downfall?

Most likely it was the fact that Cedric forgot that one of the “unspoken” rules of being a black man is to always be respectful of the po-po. If he gave any indication that he was going to be defiant, then the river police made a move to arrest him.

Now is that just cause for an arrest that includes spraying pepper spray in Benson’s face?

I wasn’t there but if all accounts are correct, I think the LCRA seriously over reacted and so did Benson.

But the LCRA are not celebrities; Benson is.

And his biggest gaffe in this whole escapade was a decision that he and so many other boat operators fail to make and that is proper operation judgment on the lake.

Cedric Benson deserves the benefit of the doubt and if his friends indeed have a different take on what happened, then he is due some type of monetary relief for what has happened to him.

But Benson also needs to realize that the next time he decides to take his $145k boat out on the lake with friends and family, he needs to make sure he brings it back into the harbor before the sun sets.

Late night boating is when accidents happen the most and now he understands that while he was a victim of sorts; he could have completely avoided the issue by being at the dock at 7:30 p.m. and not on the lake at 9:00 p.m.

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