Player Safety... to Hell With It
Published: Friday, Jun 14th 2019, 7:06am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Last night Zach Collaros took a BRUTAL, DISGUSTING and BLATANT cheap head shot from Hamilton's Simoni Lawrence after sliding on a QB run on the 3rd offensive play of the game. Collaros did not return from what looked like another obvious concussion, but he did come back on the sidelines (which I think the team made a mistake in doing) to watch the rest of the game. Before I talk more about Collaros, I need to addess something...
The CFL doesn't NOT give two craps about player safety. They might talk it, but it's very apparent that it's all just lip service. In the last 3... (THREE!) non-preseason Rider games (2018 regular season finale vs BC, home playoff game vs WPG, last night vs HAM), their starting QB for the game has taken a blatant head shot and was removed from the game. TWO of those weren't even called penalties initially! Oh sure, the league upped the Roughing the Passer penalty on these hits to 25 yards. Yippee! Collaros very well could have had his career ended for a 25 yard penalty, by a guy who has a bit of a history with QBs and cheap shots, by a guy who STILL GOT TO FINISH THE GAME! But hey, protect the stars, right? Don't give me this BS lip service anymore CFL. If you TRULY care about your players, Lawrence would have been ejected immediately and he would be facing a suspension.
Instead, he got a 25 yard penalty, a warning that if you do it again, then we can eject you and will face a fine. He won't be suspended. The league may give him a 1 game suspension, but we all know the CFLPA will appeal it and he will play anyway.
Side bar: I get that the PA needs to defend Simoni in this case, that's their job after all. BUT WHY AREN'T THEY DEFENDING COLLAROS HERE INSTEAD? We likely won't hear anything about that, but oh, that poor Simoni would miss a game and forfeit a game cheque... please...
Injuries happen and I get that. I'm not saying punish everyone that causes an injury because that simply isn't fair. Punish those that do it with clear intent and play dangerously. And make it worth it. 1 game early in the season? Come on. Keep Lawrence out as long as Collaros is out. THAT would send a message that the CFL is ACTUALLY serious about this. If you blatently injure a person, you should be out as long as the other guy. There is NO room in the game for this BS that continues to happen... and for some reason, happens to the Riders every f***ing game now.
Back to Collaros. It's over, you need to retire now. You should have retired at the end of last season after you had 3 concussions! You need to look at the long term here and think hard about your family. It's clear that concussions got the best of you in your career and you will never play a full season. Last night's injury wasn't your fault by any means, you did everything right when you slid. It was 100% on Simoni Lawrence, but they made it clear they were going to target you and it's going to continue to happen, at least as long as the "penalty" is only 25 yards.
Step it up, CFL. Your extra official didn't do anything on the field last year to call out head shots on QBs... adding 10 yards to a penalty isn't going to change things either. Stop talking, start doing. Or will that only happen when Mike Reilly or Bo Levi Mitchell get injured?
We'll talk about Isaac Harker, Cody Fajardo and more on this head shot on the next Piffles Podcast next week.