Realty One

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


By: Arash Madani

It has taken more than two full days, and the Canadian Football League has yet to pull the trigger on a basic, required, announcement: Kent Austin has been suspended for making contact with a game official.

Yet here we are on Tuesday morning, and not a peep from the office of the commissioner, nor former referee Glen Johnson, now emperor of the league’s football operations division.


On Saturday night, Kent Austin made contact with an official during his team’s loss in Regina. It appeared Hamilton’s coach was angry. He took a swipe, and hit the side judge. After the initial illegal procedure flag took the Tiger-Cats back five yards, another 10-yard penalty was assessed for Austin’s antics. That was a mistake, too.

On Pages 58 and 59 of the CFL’s 2016 rulebook, it clearly states “for physical abuse of an official in any matter whatsoever,” a 25-yard penalty and a disqualification are to be applied. Neither happened, of course, even though the rulebook has no grey area on the matter.

The CFL cannot miss here, as they have before. A league, after all, that only takes a stand when it’s easy.

Photo: Troy Fleece
They suspended Duron Carter for just a game after he bumped Rick Campbell, when the right thing to do was make it longer. They wouldn’t allow Greg Hardy to be added to Saskatchewan’s neg list, yet Shawn Oakman – indicted in July for felony second-degree sexual assault and banned from Baylor University’s locker room and road game sites – took a spot on that same Riders list.

And, of course, they didn’t suspend Austin last September, when he intentionally made contact with Dave Stala on the sidelines, throwing a laughable fine at him instead. Now a year later, and a pattern has developed, although this time it’s worse: Austin hits someone, not in pads, but an official during a game. As disrespectful an act a coach can commit in-competition. It cannot be tolerated. That we’ve gone this long without the CFL applying an automatic one-game suspension is as irresponsible as the on-field crew not ejecting him in the Hamilton loss at Mosaic Saturday night.

When CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge fined Austin for the Stala incident, his statement included this quote: “I want it to be clear that the CFL has an important standard of conduct for coaches which must be respected and upheld.”

It wasn’t Saturday night. Not by a coach who last year says he apologized to the players on the Tiger-Cats and “assured them that going forward my behavior will be consistent with those (high) standards” of conduct.

Austin didn’t live up to his word either.

A catastrophe can be avoided on the field if the offence recovers a coughed up football. The CFL has fumbled once already, now is their chance to make up for their mistake.

On Sunday, Orridge typed a tweet that began with “Football is family.”

That “family” includes the game officials. Anything but a suspension for Austin will disrespect them, and their profession, even worse than what the coach did on Saturday night.

A basic, required announcement is already too late in being issued. For the sake of the integrity of the game, let’s hope 2016’s fumble leaders won’t, again, be those making the decisions at the CFL office.


John Knight said...

Maybe if Auston was still a Rider coach, he would have already gotten a 3 game suspension.

Anonymous said...

Yeah only the riders get fined etc...get over it, no wonder they make Rider Kleenex

Anonymous said...

Why do you have this goof writing columns? He works for the competition and Mr Big Time has no use for the CFL he's made that clear many times. Austin blew up the Ref gave him a penalty and hasn't filed a report move on already.

Rod Pedersen said...


mister winnipeg said...

Rod, you are doing yourself no favours by aligning yourself with this writer. Arash has his corporate masters to please so we know where he's coming from with his relentless negativity towards the CFL, but what is your rationale for this?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you give Madani a forum in which to spew his verbal diarrhea. I'm almost embarrassed for you.

Rod Pedersen said...

Your level of anger is hard to comprehend Devin.

Anonymous said...

Excellent column - accurate and fair. This has nothing to do with the Riders real or perceived slight. This has everything to do with the denigration of this league. Carter deserved a significantly longer suspension. Austin has repeated behaviour. Under Orridge, this league has turned into a joke. Look at the state of the game - on and off the field. Just like the commish - inconsistent and underwhelming.


Anonymous said...

Hard to argue with Arash on this one.

Anonymous said...

Austin should be suspended, Madani is correct. He is also correct that Orridge is spineless except for when social media gets a hold of things and he has no choice but to finally man up. It's time for a new commissioner CFL, Orridge has done nothing to improve the league, he is actually making it worse.


Anonymous said...

I am surprised that Austin was not thrown out of the game immediately. Now that this has carried on for a couple of days, and it seems there is no punishment, this is looking bad for the CFL.

Mr. Orridge - wakey wakey. A coach on a team other than Saskatchewan was a bad boy! Time to show everyone that you are watching all teams, not just Saskatchewan.


Anonymous said...

Orridge was one of the higher ups at the CBC when they lost hockey. To blow something that big makes you wonder what the CFL governors saw in this guy in the first place.

Lyle Pederson said...

I have no idea what the punishment should be. But ... Austin usually gets a pass for his on field antics while Jones gets roasted for his. Austin is a damn good coach but his 'highly competitive' (is that a euphomism?) nature lacks self control. He would expect his players to control their tempers I am sure. He needs to address that the same as any player is required to do.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed no one has mentioned the under the radar swipe Madani took at Chris Jones and the Riders (Greg Hardy/Shawn Oakman). Arash is so clever.

So clever that when I see him on TV, I change channels.

Anonymous said...


You should have more guest columns, not less. I don't care what the viewpoint is - whether someone agrees or disagrees with what is written. Its a current issue, and more interesting than a lot of topics. Who doesn't like a good scandal!

If these guys don't like what is written, they can find someone else to troll. Good Lord.


@mrt_man said...

Wouldn't the expectation be that Austins 200 dollar fine would be announced at the same time as the rest of the ones from the week?

Austin didn't tackle the ref and start beating on the guy, but if the cfl does nothing, it might as well be open season to lay the smack down.

Russell Cone said...

You don't touch an official, let alone slap one.

Anything less than a 1 game suspension is a slap (hahahaha) to the face of everyone who officiates in the CFL.

Russ from Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

Credit where credit is due; Arash hits the nail on the head.

Besides it isn't really Arash that is bad for the league...the league office is bad for the league.


Anonymous said...

Do that in the NHL, NFL, or MLB and see what happens. Why these unwarranted attacks on Madani for being "right" ?? Last season Austin bumps a player and get a slap on the wrist fine. This year Carter bumps a coach and gets a 1 game suspension. Does anyone not see the double standard the league has displayed there? Now for what would be his second similar incident in two years, we have yet to hear anything from the league. Their silence is speaking volumes. Is the league negotiating a penalty with Austin that suits him. He is a bully who has been getting away with stuff far too long. He is a bully who continually berates officials and players alike. Watch him on any game and you will spot it easily. A loud mouth bafoon who is apparently now one of the league "golden boys" along with Huffnagel and Buono. All seem to get away with everything. Does anyone think Jones wouldn't be facing at least two games for that incident??

Orridge and Johnson have proven they are in way over their head and it's past the time they should be punted. Their leadership is non existent and conduct is deplorable.

Those idiots who bash a guy for being right, complain about everything Riders should be "outed" as they are cancerous piles of crap. They don't deserve to be on any forum. They are just part of the troll brigade hiding behind anonymity.

Peggy Warren said...

My 7 year old grandson watches rider games intently. He plays lots of sports. The head coach's actions toward an official is the first mistake. That there is no fine is the second. The color of the uniform does not matter.

Anonymous said...

Ho Hum, another fumble by the CFL. Been there, done that. Nice to have something to chat about during a bye week and it may as well be about Kent Austin.

Pat Strain said...

Madani comments on this incident and cites the leagues own rule book to back up his remarks . Trolls respond with ad hominem attacks on Madani saying he is bad for the league . Under Orridge's tenure the league is losing TV ratings, revenue , and credibility by tinkering around with rules mid season and inconsistent application of the rules ( also the new logo blows ) . Cohon built the league up - Orridge is pissing it away . Fire him.

Anonymous said...

Get bent troll

Lewis Grant said...

I think a fine is warranted, especially since this is his second infraction. However, I think a suspension would be harsh. What Austin did is nowhere near as bad as what Carter did. I don't know if Austin meant to actually hit the official; it may have just been carelessness. And then there's the mitigating context: Austin acted in response to a terrible call late in the fourth quarter of a close game, and he was flagged 15 yards.

If the league has established that Carter gets a game, I don't see how you can penalize Austin that harshly. Orridge may be bad, but he should at least be consistent. (Better an umpire with a consistently too-wide strike zone than an inconsistent one.)

Anonymous said...

Like Donald Trump, Kent Austin's antics speak volumes about the man.

Anonymous said...

Arash Mandani;

Upon further game tape review, incident deemed accidental incidental sideline infraction. Ensuing game play penalty applied by CFL sanctioned on field official at the time. No further inqiury needed, case closed!


Anonymous said...

In other news,

Sir Vincent Rogers out for the rest of season. Ottawa REDBLCKS will adjust their team rotation accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Re; Duron Carter suspension.

Poinion; Rick Campbell had no businesss being on the field of play. Resulting player suspension should have been deemed null and void. To appease the league long drawn out indecision Duron Carter moved on. End of story.