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Alex’s CFL Tuesday Takes – 1 Game Suspension Isn’t Enough for a Headbutt

Published: Tuesday, Sep 5th 2023, 3:09pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


We just had a phenomenal (day before) Labour Day Classic in Saskatchewan on Sunday where the Riders pulled off a thrilling 32-30 overtime victory over the favoured Winnipeg Blue Bombers… but no one is talking about the great game itself. Instead, the talk is on Roughriders’ DE Pete Robertson’s headbutt on Bombers QB Zach Collaros that resulted in a one game suspension for the Riders star defender.


If the CFL is serious about taking away dumb things like this and if they are serious about player safety (which is abundantly clear over the years that they aren’t), then one game isn’t enough for Robertson.


Now, Robertson has been a very clean player in his CFL career. His emotions clearly got the best of him and I totally understand why he’d want to get in the face of Collaros (who had been talking a lot of smack that game) and say something after the play. I’m all for the smack talk and getting up in each other’s grills (do the kids still say that?) during the game. The headbutt, however, was way, WAY too far. He should have been ejected immediately along with the 15 yard penalty and further discipline to come from the league.


I was surprised that the league acted as quickly as they did, as typically, fines and league discipline doesn’t come down until Wednesdays. But good on them for doing it so quickly… it just felt… forced, like they were catering to the masses. With what is punishable in the CBA and the fact that Robertson has never done anything remotely like this before, a 1 game suspension seems appropriate. If it was someone else who has a history of fines/suspensions, etc, then you’d for sure see multiple games.


To me, this whole situation has nothing to do with the fact it was the Saskatchewan Roughriders or that the hit was made on Collaros, who has had multiple concussions or him even being a quarterback. This has everything to do with keeping your players (star or not) safe. Helmets are going to hit each other in football. There is no getting away from it, that’s the nature and the speed of the game. But what you CAN control is something like this incident. BUT, to control it, you need to ensure that the players know you mean business. THAT is why I think one game isn’t enough for a headbutt like this. 


I’ve always been a proponent of “throwing the book at them” (in pro sports). Set a precedent so that each and every player knows they absolutely can NOT headbutt someone else. I’m not saying suspend a player for the season or kick him out of the league like some (Bomber) fans are calling for. Not at all. Especially for a first time offender. Maybe the magic number is 3 or 4 games. That sounds pretty serious to me and you bet that it would deter players from doing it again.


We’ll talk about this in greater detail this week on The Piffles Podcast (subscribe on YouTube!) and we’ll talk a lot about the game itself, since that has been ignored over the last few days.


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