Cedric Benson agrees to pay roommate undisclosed amount to settle assault charge

Cedric Benson

A while back we told you how former Texas Longhorns and current Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson had been arrested in July for beating up his roommate in Austin. We also mentioned reports that the victim, Charles Clavens, may have been more than just Benson’s roommate.

On Monday, Benson settled the criminal case stemming from the incident, when he agreed to pay Clavens an undisclosed amount of restitution and complete 30 hours of community service, according to the Associated Press. In exchange, the charge of assault with bodily injury with family violence will be dismissed.

Benson was also sentenced to 20 days in jail on a separate assault charge for punching a employee in Austin in 2010. Benson reportedly began serving his jail sentence last night.

“This was a difficult decision for Mr. Benson,” defense attorney Sam Bassett told the AP. “His priority right now is to get back to work and put these legal matters behind him.”

—  John Wright

Is former Texas Longhorn Cedric Benson gay?

Cedric Benson, left, and alleged victim Charles Clavens

Mark S. King at the Bilerico Project wants to know after Benson, a running back who played at UT and is now in the NFL, was arrested this week for beating the crap out of his “roommate” in Austin. NBC Sports reports that Benson was charged with assault causing bodily injury to a family member:

“According to the affidavit, the roommate [Charles Clavens] was talking on a cell phone on a street corner at 5 a.m. when Benson approached him. Benson allegedly told him they ‘need to talk about their problems’ and then repeatedly hit him in the face. The police report said the roommate was bleeding from the mouth and possibly lost teeth.”

TMZ, for what it’s worth, adds: “Clavens claimed he and Benson began to talk and argue about their living arrangements when all of the sudden Clavens was struck on the left side of his face with a closed fist thrown by Benson. Clavens went on to say that Benson continued to strike him with several more closed fists all over Clavens face resulting in severe injury to his face. Clavens told police he was experiencing severe bleeding from the mouth, possible loss of teeth and massive swelling of the left cheek.”

Benson’s attorneys later alleged an extortion attempt, saying Clavens had threatened to go to the media (with what?) if Benson doesn’t settle.

The Daily Texan notes that this marks the sixth arrest for Benson, a running back who was the fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft and now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. And the Bilerico Project’s King wonders why Benson can’t stay out of trouble:

Here we have a man in a heterosexual-dominated field, who has a long time male roommate, who has problems with drugs and alcohol, and real anger issues when it comes to “talking out his problems.” Things that make you go “hmm.”

Do we try to understand Cedric Benson, because he may be a panicked gay man trapped in a living lie, or blame this on a culture of homophobia (internalized and otherwise), or mind our own damn business?

—  John Wright