Winning the old fashioned way, earn it

On The Other Hand

The International Olympics Committee needs to take a lesson from the Canadian Football League (CFL) when it comes to dealing with cheats.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders football team was fined $15,000 two weeks ago for breaking the Canadian/American ratio rules. Last week they were fined $60,000 and had their salary cap reduced by $26,000 for another rule violation, specifically practicing with unsigned players.

In the CFL these are big fines with significant impact on a team.

It seems the vice president of Football Operations, Chris Jones, who is both general manager and coach, made a shoddy attempt to bring his team’s dismal 2016 season to victory by cheating.

Cheating is pervasive in our society whether it’s Tom Brady’s involvement in deflating footballs to win super bowls, robocalls in politics, cheating in school, insider trading on Wall Street or cheating on taxes.

What an excellent example CFL Commissioner, Jeffrey Orridge set when he took decisive action to penalize the Roughrider organization. He had a message, not only to the guilty party, to all teams that his job is to protect the competitive balance, the spirit of the CFL rules and the integrity of Canadian football.

The CFL is unique because of its unique rules. American coaches, such as Chris Jones, want to import National Football League (NFL) ideas, but that’s not the name of the game in the CFL.

Saskatchewan may be re-thinking their decision to hire Chris Jones or at least regret giving him so much power. Jones went over from the Edmonton Eskimos to Saskatchewan to gain management power and increase his salary from $350,000 to $500,000 plus incentives. Incentive bonuses are tied to wins. To date, the Roughriders have one win under their belt.

Orridge didn’t mince words. “The recent conduct, behaviour and activities of the Saskatchewan Roughriders have compromised the reputation of the CFL,” said Orridge.

Unfortunately it has also compromised the reputation of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Among fans of other teams, Saskatchewan has more often than not been the second team of choice —often referred to as Canada’s team.

Jones’ actions have brought much disrepute to the most faithful of fans — Rider Nation — and it was unnecessary. Jones is a highly motivating and successful coach. In two short years, he took the dismal Eskimos from the basement to the Grey Cup. There is no reason why he shouldn’t win more Grey Cups in the future.

Jones, upon his arrival, turned the entire Roughrider team upside down by trading their stars and bringing over many Grey Cup winning players and coaches from his former team the Eskimos.

It appears he wanted instant results and lacked the patience to meld a new team together and produce a winner the old fashioned way through hard work and honesty.

Hopefully for Rider Nation, Jones has learned that in the CFL you earn Grey Cups, you don’t cheat your way to one.

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