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Commissioner Ambrosie Should Have Set the Tone

Published: Tuesday, Jul 11th 2017, 2:07pm

Ambrosie’s first day should have set the tone.

By Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)

I can’t help but think, newly minted CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie was enjoying the family wedding he was attending this past weekend and decides to check out the Rider vs Tiger-Cat highlights on his cell phone. A smile would come across his face as he watched Kevin Glenn playing like a guy almost half his age, Cameron Marshall churning out much needed yards, Rider receiving corps making timely catches, and the Rider defense feeding off the crowd at Mosaic Stadium, the newest venue in the CFL.

Then as the clip of Will Hill grabbing a referee by the collar came on, he ordered a double and wondered what the hell he got himself into.

Being the CFL Commissioner is never going to be easy and it is safe to say with Ambrosie’s background in business he knew there would be challenges. But I also bet he wasn’t expecting to have to worry about player suspensions on his first day in the office.

But what is the former player and CFLPA secretary to do?

While there is no doubt that Hill crossed a line that should not be crossed in any level at any time and should have been suspended handily. It should have been no surprise that the suspension had no teeth because the CFL has a notorious history when it comes to suspensions on players and coaches.

The 2016 season includes two of the most laughable suspensions any league has seen with Kent Austin and Duron Carter.

Austin “slapped” the hand of an official last season in a game versus the Riders when he got upset with the official after a penalty call. Whether it was intentional or a complete accident is up for debate but Austin rightly received an objectionable conduct penalty at the time. Once the game was over the league fined him $10,000 and suspended him…for one game… from the sidelines. For putting his hands on the official Austin had to do his job from up in the spotter’s booth for one game. Oh, the inconvenience of it all.

The former Alouette Carter on the other hand, didn’t get into it with a CFL official but with another teams’ coach. Carter bumped into Ottawa Head Coach Rick Campbell on his way back to the Montreal bench after a touchdown.

Was the collision avoidable? Yes, Ottawa is dumb for having both benches on the same side.

Did Carter do it on purpose? Maybe, he definitely did not try to avoid Campbell.

Should Campbell shoulder some of the blame? Yes, he was on the field and for the light bump he took he went down like he was shot.

But at the end of the day, a player shouldn’t do anything to an official team or otherwise. No matter how far they are on the field… if coaches on the field were fair game Wally Buono would be knocked down multiple times every game.

The league suspended Carter for one game and he appealed believing it should have been only a fine. As is typical of CFL appeals it got pushed back… and back again… and after 2 months it was upheld and he had to sit the one game anyway.

That was Jefferey Orridge’s CFL, this is now Ambrosie’s CFL.

Ambrosie had the chance to grab the CFL by the collar and do his Will Hill impression to it. Hill should have been made an example of if Ambrosie wanted to look like an effective commissioner. The one game given to Hill does not help Ambrosie look like discipline is important to the league.

For too long the league has been soft with its discipline and there needed to be a change.

Maybe we will get there with the next commissioner.


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