STONEY CREEK, Ont. — The CFL Players’ Association said it is “disappointed” in the disciplinary action handed down by the CFL to Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin, adding the punishment would likely have been more severe had the roles been reversed.
Austin, who also serves as the Ticats’ general manager, was fined $5,000 on Sunday for bumping into Toronto receiver Dave Stala during Friday’s win over the Argonauts. Television replays showed Austin walking along the sidelines in the third quarter and lowering his shoulder into Stala’s back.
“Actions like these need to be addressed and deterred from happening in the future as they bring both the players and the CFL into disrepute,” CFLPA president Scott Flory said Monday in a statement. “It is unacceptable for a head coach and general manager to go out of his way to have intentional unwarranted physical contact with a player.
“From our perspective, the player would be facing a suspension should the roles have been reversed. In the absence of a suspension, the player would be subject to a possible fine equal to one half of their weekly game salary.”
After the incident, Stala — a former Ticat — jogged back to Toronto’s bench, turned around and appeared to say something to Austin. The Ticats coach reacted by waving Stala back to his bench.
“It is our opinion that the disciplinary action taken by the commissioner is not consistent with the disciplinary action imposed upon our players in the past,” Flory added. “The CFL Players’ Association feels very strongly about this issue and wants to convey both our disappointment in the imposed sanction and our continued support of all our players.”
In a statement Sunday, Austin said he spoke with Stala and apologized to him. He added that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions and has apologized to his players.
The Ticats beat the Argos 35-27 to sweep the season series against their division rival for the first time since 2010.
The Canadian Press