Anthony Reddick questions fine by CFL

VANCOUVER - The popularity of high-definition or 3D TV is becoming a concern not only for the CFL but the NFL to tackle, with some fans choosing to stay home rather than follow the marketing mantra that “there’s nothing like the thrill of being there.”

The worry for players is that the coverage and clarity is so vivid that every transgression is seen in detail, then debated by a panel of TSN experts in the studio or anyone with an opinion on the Twitterverse.

Thus, when B.C. Lions defensive back Anthony Reddick clobbered Stampeders quarterback Kevin Glenn last Saturday in Calgary, or defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell confused the arm of Edmonton Eskimos’ offensive lineman Simeon Rottier with a Stretch Armstrong toy, everybody knows about it, even if the officials missed it.

In both recent instances, neither player was flagged, but the fallout, highlighted by slo-mo, instant replay, high-def, all the bells and whistles of the advanced TV age, plus provocative commentary, necessitated that the CFL office to do something.

Mitchell was slapped with a two-game suspension, which is under appeal, and Reddick was fined $750, a sum which he is going to petition for redress, as soon as he finds out what he did.

“There was no penalty on the play,” Reddick said Thursday. “So, what part of the rule book did I break? Somebody from the league contacted one of the CFLPA guys on our team [Korey Banks and Rolly Lumbala are the Lions’ player reps] and told them. I actually haven’t been told yet myself. I’ve heard it through the grapevine.”

The CFL put out a media statement Wednesday notifying the media that Montreal linebacker Shea Emry (illegal block) and Reddick (late hit) had been fined. “As per league policy, player fine amounts are not disclosed,” read the statement.

“From what I hear, the fine is $750,” Reddick said. “I thought it was kind of weird. How do I get fined? I don’t know anything about it still. They’ve never told me anything. I never got penalized. How can that happen?”

A league spokesman said Reddick was being fined for hitting Glenn late, after a handoff, when he no longer had the football.

Evidently, it was not the first-quarter play where Reddick got right into Glenn’s grill, just as the quarterback released a pass, a play that a resulted in an interception by linebacker Adam Bighill, which the Lions later turned into a Paul McCallum field goal. The Lions went on to win 34-8.

“We got a notice that he had been fined,” Lumbala explained. “There is an appeal process, just like for Mr. Mitchell. It gives a chance for the player to defend himself, to explain himself. I’ll get his explanation for hitting Mr. Glenn, then we’ll go through the appeal process. It’s like getting a traffic ticket. They might lower it. He might have to pay the full thing.”

“I’m going to appeal it,” Reddick vowed. “But four days later, they haven’t told me I’m getting fined or anything. Where’s the rule that I broke? I guess we just make ‘em up as we go. You have a better idea what it is than I do.”

Well, that’s giving us more credit than rightfully due. The star chamber that is CFL justice proceeds with its business secretively, like a private business, operating independently and heedless of public scrutiny.

In the case of Mitchell, we know that his appeal will be heard by an arbitrator, via conference call, sometime after the Lions’ game Monday against the Argos in Toronto. It has been reported that the hearing will take place on Thursday, Aug. 9, but that is information coming from a Lions source, not the CFL.

“We will communicate the decision of the arbitrator once it's available,” said a league spokesman.

When will the arbitrator hear the case?

“We aren’t communicating that right now,” the spokesman added.

The Lions head into a bye week following the Toronto game and won’t be on the practice field again until Monday, Aug. 13.

“By the time we get back to work, the hearing [for Mitchell] will have taken place,” said Lions head coach Mike Benevides. “When will they come down with a decision? I have no idea.”

That’s pretty much where Anthony Reddick stands now. He has no idea either.

In the collective sense of we -- the CFL public and media -- that makes three of us.

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