Surely Jones’ defence of Cox now merits apology
In the fallout of the Justin Cox situation, a statement Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach, general manager and vicepresident of football operations Chris Jones made last July has been cited again in several media outlets.
“Quite honestly,” Jones said to reporter Greg Hardy, “you wouldn’t have a league if all the guys who had some type of past transgression in high school or junior college or college (weren’t allowed to play). You wouldn’t have a CFL.”
Quite honestly, that statement — which evidently still stands, without retraction or amendment by Mr. Jones — was and is a misleading exaggeration and an insult to the overwhelming majority of men who have laboured in the CFL.
Mr. Jones insinuated that there are, and have been, so many lawbreakers and troublemakers in the CFL that, if they were not available, the league couldn’t exist — and, by the same token, that your typical CFL player is, or has been, a bad citizen.
Having been acquainted with hundreds of men who laboured as CFL players, I concede that there have been some bad apples, as there will be in any profession, and I believe that someone who is guilty of a transgression is, with contrition, entitled to a chance at redemption.
It would be morally wrong for the CFL to have a policy that disqualified players for misdeeds they committed as adolescents or young men — but if the league did so, it would have plenty of talent to choose from and would not only continue to exist but thrive. (If the CFL ceases to exist, it will be through poor management, not the size or composition of the talent pool.)
It is wrong for Mr. Jones’ casual remark to continue to tarnish the reputations of the many men who either grew up here or came here to play football and proved themselves to be good men, solid citizens and responsible members of the community.
Furthermore, I doubt that the fans who have supported the franchise so passionately for a century regard the Roughriders as, by and large, a bunch of reprobates. What are we to think, that the Plaza of Honor is riddled with the scum of society?
A retraction and apology from Mr. Jones for the implications of his statement would have been in order last summer; as the statement still has life, such action is actually overdue.
John Chaput, Regina.