The Saskatchewan Roughriders made news for all the wrong reasons last week as Dwight Anderson, Taj Smith, and Eron Riley were all charged with aggravated assault stemming from a fight outside a nightclub last month. Fans, as fans tend to do, let their allegiances to the team affect their judgement. I am not one of those people. First of all, the players deserve their day in court but consider who the suspects are. It’s not like it was Darian Durant, Geroy Simon, and Weston Dressler. The point to that is Anderson has a certain perception of his character that varies from that of Simon. So, when I heard three Riders were charged, the names didn’t shock me. Secondly, we’ve all seen the court system fail us. So, it is possible to be found innocent of the crime, but guilty of breaking the Roughrider Code Of Conduct that was implemented in 2007. For people to say the Riders need to wait out the legal process is a crock of dandelions. They need to step up and make their own determination and levy penalties accordingly. Waiting for the legal system is a cop out.
A further note to the Rider situation is that these players, quite obviously, were at the bar during the wee hours of the morning and for that they are guilty of putting themselves in a position to find trouble. Athletes, politicians, and other public figures need to be held to a higher standard than others. These are grown men around the age of 30 who are at a place where there is plenty of liquid courage floating about. The early reports on the ‘victim’ suggest he had this coming to him anyway, but it shouldn’t have been from a Roughrider player. If this occurred outside a grocery store at six o’clock in the evening, I would be a lot softer with my stance than I am outside a bar well past midnight. Yes, it’s a free country and these guys can do what they want. It comes down to choices. It would be like me jogging down the worst street in town and complaining about getting mugged when I could’ve jogged another two blocks and avoided the hood.
My Rider fan friends hate it when I bring this up, but I say if the Riders can find a way to lose they will. And, if there is a new way to lose, they will do that too. I’ve been an astute follower for about ten years and I’ve seen a kicker miss a 17-yard field goal that would put the team into the Grey Cup, I’ve seen a too many men call that robbed the team of a Grey Cup title, and I’ve seen a long bomb touchdown pass to Romby Bryant with no time left on the clock to end any hopes of a Roughrider playoff victory. Off the field, we’ve had a player found guilty for passing around the AIDS virus like it was candy, a General Manager sexually assault his babysitter because he was dealing with back pain (don’t laugh), a running back get involved in a domestic situation, and now this. Yes, all teams have bad apples. But, is there another CFL team that can compare to this drama? I always thought the Riders would make the 2013 Grey Cup, only to lose to Kent Austin and Henry Burris. A new tragic ending. Turns out they may self-implode before that possibility (opportunity?) can occur.
Saturday night, the Riders were flat and I didn’t think anyone could say they played well. That includes Durant, who fans are calling for to be run out of town. From where I sat, I saw Durant struggle through the first quarter and a half. After that, I really couldn’t fault him. He’s running for his life most of the game, his running back was taken out early so he had to throw on pretty much every down, and two of the three picks weren’t his fault. He passed for 381 yards and three majors, including a late touchdown to Chris Getzlaf to put his team within a two-point convert of forcing overtime. Durant does have an injured finger on his throwing hand, so maybe the masses will get their wish and have Drew Willy at the helm against BC on Sunday as they try to halt their two game slide. BC, to me, is a mirror image of the Riders. They have a ton of talent but don’t always play like it. So, this is a winnable game no matter who’s at the controls.
I noticed on the jumbotron at the Rider game on Saturday, you can get 50% off your NHL preseason ticket if you presented your Rider ticket stub. How mad would you be if you already bought a ticket? $100 is just too much to pay to watch beer league players wearing NHL sweaters. I liked how John Tavares was advertised with the promotion. What are the chances Tavares plays? I’ll go out on a limb and say 0%.
I’m friends with a group of guys who love to play fantasy sports. It’s almost NHL season so it’s time to schedule a meeting with everyone. Guess what? Seven of us have lost interest so no draft this year. I wonder if the lockout did that to any other long time fans.
Nice person mentions this week to Brady Harland, Doug Jonassen, Leonne Henderson, Robyn Stettner, and Sherry MacDonald.