Source: Cedric Benson files vs. NFLPA

Updated: September 25, 2011, 11:21 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NFL Players Association with the National Labor Relations Board, a source confirmed to ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

Benson filed the charge, first reported by ProFootballTalk.com, over an Aug. 4 agreement the union made with the NFL that allowed eight players to be disciplined by the league for conduct during the league's lockout.

The source told ESPN's Mortensen that as part of that agreement, 25 players were made exempt from discipline for conduct during the work stoppage.

Among his arguments, Benson claims that since the NFLPA wasn't a union after decertifying during the lockout it had no right to make an agreement with the league on players who could be disciplined. However, the NFLPA reformed as a union before the side agreement.

"There were some things in the CBA that we were not made aware of, which is really no surprise," Benson told The Associated Press after the Bengals' 13-8 loss Sunday. "That kind of falls on the (players' association). You would think they're here to support you and have your back -- that's what a union does. I guess in my case, it's different."

The NFLPA also is emphasizing it never abandoned the right to challenge any discipline.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib and Benson headlined the list, according to Yahoo! Sports. Yahoo! also listed New England Patriots defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, Green Bay Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood and defensive end Johnny Jolly and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Clark Haggans on the report.

George Atallah, NFLPA assistant executive director, sent this email to ESPN.com on Saturday night: "We believe that no player should be subjected to discipline for incidents occurring during the lockout. The NFL and the NFLPA signed a side letter to the CBA that resolved and absolved the overwhelming majority of players of conduct related issues. We retain all of our rights and ability to challenge any player discipline related to incidents occurring during the lockout."

Among those named by Yahoo! Sports, only Benson is facing league discipline. Sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Thursday that Benson is facing a three-game suspension for two misdemeanor assault cases that landed him in jail for five days. Benson will have an appeal hearing Tuesday with the NFL to determine his fate.

The union will be on hand for Tuesday's appeal and plans to argue on Benson's behalf.

Perhaps preparing for Benson's absence, the Bengals will work out running back Larry Johnson, who recently was cut by the Miami Dolphins, on Tuesday, a league source told ESPN's Schefter.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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