Would things have played out differently if Ricky Williams had been on Cedric Benson's boat earlier this month? The Dolphins running back thinks so, and according to Williams, he was invited to go on board.
Williams told the Austin American-Statesman for Thursday's editions that he declined an invitation from Benson to spend a Saturday on Benson's boat in Lake Travis, Texas.
On May 3, Benson was charged with boating while intoxicated after failing a sobriety test and resisting arrest in an alleged struggle that required officers to use pepper spray before dragging him ashore.
Williams told the American-Statesman that things would have played out differently if he had been on Benson's boat.
"I think if I had come down, things might have worked out a little bit differently," Williams, who is entering the final year of his contract with the Dolphins, told the newspaper. "I find I have a calming influence on people I'm around.
"As a high-level athlete, it's just something that's ingrained in me. I always think that if I'm there, things would be different. I can't say how."
According to the police report, Benson had bloodshot eyes, a "strong" alcohol odor and slurred speech when his boat was stopped. Benson has denied he was intoxicated or that he resisted law enforcement and will fight the charges against him.
Two witnesses have since come forward and said that Benson was mistreated by police.
Benson has a Monday court date in Austin, Texas, to answer the charges but is not required to appear. He declined to speak to reporters Wednesday while attending a Bears teammate's charity bowling event in Illinois.
Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye told the Chicago Tribune he hopes Benson's is a case spawned by overzealous officers, while Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner told the paper "I think [Benson] knows the players are trying to support him."
But Earl Campbell, who like Benson was a star running back at the University of Texas, was critical of the former Longhorn, saying he was not taking enough responsibility for his actions.
"Right now, everybody remembers Cedric Benson by what happened up on the lake. Nobody remembers what a great football player he is ... " Campbell said, according to the Tribune. "You've kind of got to start thinking, and you've kind of got to do it before you get 52 years old, you know?"