Saskatoon StarPhoenix

CFL fines on Chris Jones’ watch hit $116,500


The Saskatchew­an Roughrider­s do not open training camp for another month, but they are already in two-a-day mode.

The CFL handed the Roughrider­s a pair of fines Friday, adding to the list of violations by Chris Jones and associates.

Most recently, the Green and White has been discipline­d for two bylaw violations ($31,500) while Jones has been fined $5,000 for meeting with the publicist for troubled quarterbac­k Johnny Manziel.

Johnny Football flashed his patented “money” gesture upon being ill-advisedly drafted by the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in 2014, so it all fits, really.

What is the Riders’ tab now? Where is the abacus?

Aug. 2, 2016: CFL penalizes the Roughrider­s $15,000 for a ratio violation.

Aug. 11, 2016: CFL fines Roughrider­s $60,000 for roster violations and reduces the team’s salary cap by $26,000. Commission­er Jeffrey Orridge says the Roughrider­s “have compromise­d the reputation of the CFL.”

Aug. 14, 2016: Add $5,000 for a field violation — staying on the McMahon Stadium midfield logo during player introducti­ons before a game in Calgary.

April 28, 2017: The aforementi­oned $31,500 for two bylaw violations (players attending practice while on the CFL’s suspension list; violations related to recruitmen­t of a junior player). April 28, 2017: Cha-ching! Jones is dinged $5,000. Manziel is on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ negotiatio­n list, so contact with his mouthpiece constitute­d tampering.

The grand total: $116,500.

Six figures worth of sanctions do not take into account other questionab­le moves by the Roughrider­s.

Last July, it came to light that Jones had talked with controvers­ial defensive lineman Greg Hardy, who in 2014 was charged with assaulting and threatenin­g his former girlfriend. Jones told the media that the disgraced ex-NFLer had initiated the discussion, after which the CFL blocked the Roughrider­s from adding him to the negotiatio­n list.

On the same day that the Hardy matter made news, Jones defended the Roughrider­s’ decision to sign Justin Cox even though the internatio­nal defensive back had faced legal issues relating to domestic violence. (The Roughrider­s released Cox last week, after he was charged with assault causing bodily harm.)

The Saskatchew­an Roughrider­s have been notified of the league’s decision and accept their disciplina­ry action.

Let’s not forget Aug. 31, 2016, when the Roughrider­s’ tone-deaf signing of defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell was announced.

Mitchell had been fined the previous year by the CFL and the Montreal Alouettes (his team at the time) for anti-Semitic tweets.

The Roughrider­s’ media release regarding the addition of Mitchell arrived as members of media were touring/ogling the substantia­lly completed Mosaic Stadium.

Instantly, a cloud was cast over what should have been a goodnews day for the communityo­wned team.

But this is a regime that is seemingly allergic to positivism.

Last season, for example, the Roughrider­s erupted for one victory in their first 11 games under Jones — the well-compensate­d head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations.

The Roughrider­s of 2016 finished with a 5-13 record, giving them co-tenancy in the league basement with the Toronto Argonauts, and apparently it was all Darian Durant’s fault.

Shortly after the season, Jones attached the “moderately successful” label to the accomplish­ed quarterbac­k, who was rightfully rankled.

Durant is now employed by the Alouettes. The Roughrider­s, meanwhile, are still trying to determine who their starting quarterbac­k will be. The youth movement includes Kevin Glenn, 37, and Vince Young, 33. Sustained success, we are told, is the goal. Oh.

Upon becoming a Roughrider in December of 2015, Jones inherited a 3-15 team with a roster that included two other immensely popular players — defensive end John Chick and slotback Weston Dressler.

Chick and Dressler were released in January of last year, when the Roughrider­s cited financial reasons. Chick resurfaced with Hamilton and was named a CFL all-star. Dressler, as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber, amassed 1,003 receiving yards in only 14 games.

Jones, for his part, signed several CFL veterans in the winter of 2016. Many of them didn’t even come close to being moderately successful.

On a brighter note, the Roughrider­s have become highly adept at one thing — issuing prepared statements. The latest carefully crafted communique arrived Friday.

“The Saskatchew­an Roughrider­s have been notified of the league’s decision and accept their disciplina­ry action,” said Jones, who by now has the phrasing down pat.

“We have been forthcomin­g with the CFL office on any informatio­n they have requested. We look forward to moving on and continuing to prepare for the 2017 season.”

At last word, nobody was planning a parade.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada