Thursday, September 1, 2016
STATEMENT FROM COMMISSIONER ON KHALIF MITCHELL
There is absolutely no place in our league for commentary used to divide or disparage people on the basis of their religion, race, gender or sexual orientation. Such commentary not only may bring the CFL into disrepute; it can promote hate today and dishonour all those who have been subjected to hate over the course of history.
Our social media policy expressly prohibits a current player, team or league employee from using social media, including the retweeting or reposting of someone else’s comments, to condone discrimination, harassment or violence. This is why in May, 2015, this league fined Khalif Mitchell, then in the employ of a CFL club, for violating our policy. It is also why, at that time, our office helped broker a meeting for him with a representative of B’Nai Brith Canada, to facilitate his education on human rights matters.
Since Mitchell has now returned to our league, with another club, his new employer has reached out to the league office to assure us they too take this matter very seriously and any such inappropriate behaviour from Mitchell will result in his immediate dismissal. We too will monitor any commentary he may make as a member of our League. We fully acknowledge that our employees, including our players, have a right to hold and express opinions. But in absolutely no circumstance do we condone activity or comments that are derogatory or inappropriate. Such comments, which put the League’s reputation as a progressive and positive member of the community in question, will not be tolerated.
Following Thursday's practice, Mitchell discussed the Commissioner's Statement:
KM: "Well, the league has their position and that's their position. I don't know what goes on in the league. The league is the league. That's their position and that's fine."
Regarding the negativity from various interest groups across the country surrounding his signing and past Social Media comments, Mitchell said he's a somewhat misunderstood individual.
KM: "I think a lot of the reaction was based off a lot of misinterpretations about myself that was farfetched. A lot of people look at me as somebody that the media portrayed as an anti-Semitic type of person and all I was doing was finding my own Hebrew Semitic backgrounds. My Mom is from the Tribe of Jude and my Dad's from the Tribe of Benjamin. So all I was trying to do was learn all those things and try to find out who I am and what my lineage is.
"I just kind of got caught up in the jello and lacked some information. Some information was not as relevant and some was more relevant. I just take it all with a grain of salt, just like life, and you just live and just take everything that comes with it."
Meanwhile there was another new face on the field for the Roughriders at Thursday's practice. Veteran CFL coach Gary Etcheverry was assisting on the defensive side of the ball and Rider Head Coach & GM Chris Jones says he's been added as a consultant.
"Etch is a friend of mine and he's friends with Don (Mathews) and he loves football. He and I've been keeping in touch for the past 6-8 weeks and he decided this is an opportunity. It's a long week and he had a couple of days off so he came up, we looked at some film and reviewed some teams and we just kind of brainstormed a little," Jones said.