Surely Jones’ de­fence of Cox now mer­its apol­ogy

Regina Leader-Post - - SPORTS -

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.

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