Realty One

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


TORONTO - Kent Austin won't be on the sidelines this weekend when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats host the CFL's top team.

CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge CFL fined Austin $10,000 on Wednesday and banished him to the spotter's booth Saturday when Hamilton (6-7) takes on the Calgary Stampeders (11-1-1) for making contact with an official last weekend. It's the first time in league history a head coach has been disallowed from being on the field with his team for a game and the fine is believed to be the stiffest ever handed down to a coach.

On Tuesday, Austin told reporters he didn't believe he'd be disciplined for the altercation. Austin said the contact with official Tom Cesari was accidental and that he had received an objectionable conduct penalty on the play.

Austin also added he had apologized to Cesari. But Orridge said he couldn't overlook that Austin actually made contact with the official on the field.

"Whether it was accidental, whether it was unintentional, the bottom line is intent is irrelevant,'' Orridge told The Canadian Press. "I was not presented evidence that would suggest it was not accidental or intentional but the message is you cannot contact an official in a confrontational manner or context.

"This is unprecedented, and because there has been no policy up until this point it highlights the need to develop a clear policy that there will be zero tolerance of any contact with an official under these types of circumstances whatever the nature. We have to make sure there's a safe space created, a safe working environment for the officials on the field.''

The incident occurred in the fourth quarter of Hamilton's 20-18 loss to Saskatchewan on Sunday in Regina. After the Ticats were flagged for illegal procedure, a perplexed Austin walked towards Cesari on the sidelines and swung his hand in frustration, slapping Cesari's hand in the process.

Cesari immediately threw a second flag, a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty.

Predictably, the Ticats weren't happy with the ruling.

"Although we feel the punishment is unprecedented and harsh, we accept the league's ruling on the matter and move forward as we continue to prepare for this weekend's game at Tim Hortons Field,'' the club said in a statement.

But the Ticats didn't really have a choice. That's because unlike a player, Austin isn't part of a coaching association or union that's bound by a collective bargaining agreement with the league.

As a result, he didn't have the right to appeal the ruling and have it reviewed by an independent arbitrator.

That's what happened earlier this year when the CFL suspended Montreal receiver Duron Carter for one game after bumping Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell during a game. Carter appealed to an arbitrator, who upheld the original verdict.

It's the second time in as many years that Austin, also Hamilton's vice-president of football operations, has been disciplined by the league. Last year, the CFL fined him $5,000 for bumping into Toronto receiver Dave Stala - a former Ticat - during a game.

However, just because Austin won't be on the sidelines doesn't mean he'll be unable to coach. Assistants in the spotter's booth routinely wear headsets to relay information to coaches on the field, giving Austin the ability to speak with his on-field personnel during the contest.

"I'm not going to be monitoring his activities,'' Orridge said. "What we have said is he has lost the privilege to be on the field with his team coaching.

"That is unprecedented, that we have removed a head coach from the playing field during a game.''

The CFL took plenty of heat this week - particularly on social media - for the time required to render its decision. But Orridge said because there was no precedent in this matter, he needed to speak individually with all the parties involved and gather as much evidence as possible before rendering a decision.

"It was very deliberate, very considered,'' he said. "It's fact-finding, that's my job.

"To gather all the evidence and then amalgamate and distill it before reaching a decision that's in the best interests of the league.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Orridge got it right. His statement says it all. You better believe contact with an official while beaking off at the official is very wrong. Not surprised hothead Austin did it though.

Bart in Regina

Anonymous said...

I would say the pressure got to the commissioner and he was backed into a corner due to the other fines he handed down this year. I feel he should not even be allowed in the stadium. Kent seems to think he is above everyone else in the league.

Darcy from Regina

Anonymous said...

As a repeat offender (two times in two years) the fine is appropriate of course. BUT being allowed to operate from the spotters booth is in "NO WAY: a suspension. He should have been banished from the building for the entire contest, having no input into the operation of the team. Another weak response to the situation by a league that continues to come up with these custom hybrid situations to suit the party involved.

Anonymous said...

Now all you rider fans can put your rider kleenex away and put your watermelons back on your head and be does that not sound good or make sense, the second part that is.

Anonymous said...

Being allowed in the spotter's booth. So he can still be coaching the team through phone/headset??

Anonymous said...

Legally - null and void.

Anonymous said...

Good news andI hope Kent takes some anger management classes because we have all seen how he practically spits venom at his team when they do something wrong. It's not surprising that he got a little too close to an official. Hopefully some other coaches tone it down a bit or they too will be short some cash.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! Great statement by the CFL! All the hand wringing by pundits and fans was for nought. The CFL gets it right.

Evan Wiome said...

If there was any doubt that the CFL leadership is weak and incompetent, this ruling removes it.

Kudos to Austin and Tillman for negotiating a lesser punishment with Mayberry.

Clarkenstein said...

"Unintentional"??? Don't insult the intelligence of CFL followers. He slapped the Referee's hand like a petulant little brat would hit his Mom's hand when he couldn't have another cookie. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

10-thousand dollars and no suspension. That's weak and incompetent in my books.

Anonymous said...

These league sanctions by it's commisioner wouldn't hold water in a court of law. Coaching employee's neither a asociation or union binding by collective agreement to said league.

Anonymous said...

Lost in all of this is the fact that the officials were right. The Hamilton center moved the ball the length of the ball prior to tipping it up for the hike.

Anonymous said...

How is this a suspension? When a player or coach is suspended do they not give up their salary for the duration of it as well? He will be coaching from above. The CFL said all the right things and then totally botched it. Because touching an official will not be tolerated we will move you up to the booth for a game.

Rally Driver said...

Perhaps Kent should try channeling is inner Tom Landry.

Anonymous said...

The best thing about this whole ordeal is that it involves another coach and team instead of the Riders. Let the circus set up tents elsewhere, it time for the Riders to concentrate on winning again... its been too long since greatness.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

When you get right up in someone's grill. You are taking full responsibility for what happens as you have entered an individuals personal space.
So your "" Coaching employee's neither a asociation or union binding by collective agreement"" dosent hold water.

Anonymous said...

The over emphatic use of terms like "unintentional" "inadvertent" and "accidental" in the statement from orridge shows why this punishment is light. Anyone who says that Austin's actions fall under any of those terms is living in a dream world. Unintentional, because Austin says it was? He's got a history of this behavior. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Its like sending your kid to their room and still letting them have the phone.

Mark said...

The CFL never said it was a suspension. The headline on this story did.

Anonymous said...

Extra Extra read all about it!

Can't get right head office reaffirms Bush League status from top to bottom.

Commissioners last paragraph (partial quote) statement says it all.

That has highlighted for me 'the need to develope' and announce a clear policy 'that makes crystal clear' that there will be zero tolerance of physical contact with officials, whatever it's nature, and immediate and serious penalties should such contact occur. (Heres the kicker). 'That work is now under way'.

Huh ?????????

Question! This league has been around how long now? It's professional sports status has to be called into question with all the inconsistencies day to day, week to week, season to season. On field incident confirmed! The game moves on this week. Games not so enjoyable to watch anymore as the people running it are ruining a once proud Canadian fixture. Fix it! League popularity plummetting evident by slipped tv ratings, fan disapproval of current direction.

Fed up with orridge and his cronies

Anonymous said...

This penalty is like a parent grounding their kid to their room, only restricting them to playing their video games

Funny how this kind of conduct isn’t detrimental to the league....

Soup said...

Well the good thing here is that the Comish will be out of sight for a month developing a crystal clear policy.

Anonymous said...

League has turned into a beer league

Anonymous said...

Sask Football God, err Goat, Mr. Kent Austin fined for on-field infraction. Oskee Wee-Whaaa-Whaaa-Whaaa!

Anonymous said...

C'mon now there praire buffoon! Learn the Oskee Rebel Yell right! Here we go, repeat after me,

Oskee Wee Wee,
Oskee Waa Waa,
Tiger Cats Eat'em RAW!

Got it?

RoarrrRRRR! opps! didn't mean to scare yaz reading this via RODPEDERSEN.COM. pardon that.


Anonymous said...

Oskee Nation will rejoice when the Angry Cats lay a lickin on the Stamps.

Anonymous said...

What did we as loyal Rider/CFL fans do to deserve this clown? He is ruining the CFL and he can not resign or get fired soon enough

3RD and 1 said...

After showing that a 2-10 team can beat you. The Tiger Cats are more like the Kitty Cats.
The Cats beating the Stamps?? With Swinging Angry Austin in the booth. While the Stamps play for a lost team mate. I see Calgary destroying the Cats in this one.