Jimenez still awaiting appeal of one-game suspension
Lowell Ullrich, The Province
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Jason Jimenez was still a contributing member of the Lions as he stood before a couple of hundred school kids Tuesday.
For the gigantic right tackle of the CFL team, that meant participating in the Lions in the House program, extolling the virtues of proper nutrition and fitness to a captive audience of youngsters at Surrey's Riverdale Elementary.
In a way though, Jimenez remains a Lion in limbo, still unsure how the start of the upcoming season will unfold.
Lions offensive right tackle Jason Jimenez at a team practice last season.
It has been more than four months since he was involved in a blocking incident with Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman Anthony Gargiulo that resulted in a one-game suspension levied by commissioner Mark Cohon.
It has been nearly four months since Jimenez was granted an appeal before an arbitrator -- which has yet to take place.
It's justice, CFL style, and without a hearing it remains difficult to gain a sense of closure for a player who has carried his share of remorse about the play.
"I'm sure it's as tough on me as it is for [Gargiulo], but it's just the process," Jimenez shrugged Tuesday. "When they get around to it, I'm more than willing and prepared."
With the heightened sense of anxiety and controversy removed as a result of the appeal that allowed Jimenez to play in the Nov. 18 West Division final loss against Saskatchewan, the delay has been about foot-dragging but also mere logistics.
A hearing scheduled in late February was postponed because it coincided with the league's annual winter meetings.
The next attempt, Jimenez said, will be to have his case reviewed before an Alberta judge who has been appointed arbitrator in late April or early May in Calgary.
In the offseason, however, the CFL lives a slow and steady existence on any number of fronts.
The league may have already fixed a $4.2-million salary cap limit for the upcoming season, but has yet to release spending figures for its teams from last season, and isn't scheduled to do so for another month. That's not the reason why, contrary to reports, a contract extension offer has not yet been made by the Lions to Jimenez, who is entering his option year.
However the stalled arbitration involving the league and the CFL Players Association does put the Lions in an uncertain place at best regarding their offensive line for the start of the upcoming season.
Jimenez isn't the only lineman who could be out for the season opener June 26 in Calgary.
Left tackle Rob Murphy and his wife are expecting triplets in early August, and the league's two-time top offensive lineman has already talked to coach Wally Buono about returning to the couple's home near Jacksonville, Fla., as the need arises.
"Guess that could be the story for the start of the season," said Jimenez, whose wife is also expecting.
In the absence of a streamlined arbitration process, it'll also do for now
Gargiulo comment below:
I'm not really looking for compensation from the CFLPA, just a little protection and justice. I think part of the reason that I'm not seeing any love is because the organization wasn't designed to deal with this kind of deliberate attack. It's just not supposed to happen! There is no official CFLPA or league proceedure to help out (that I'm aware of) because it just shouldn't happen in the first place (perhaps?). Clearly there needs to be.
If players can keep getting away with things like this then it could become a viable strategy to deliberately attempt to injure other teams' star players (not claiming I was a star haha) in order to gain a leg-up in future games (seeing as we play each other over and over). I'm not saying that CFL players would do such a thing, but if it only costs you a game suspension and could almost guarantee you a playoff win..... You see the cost-reward correlation there. I'm sure there's SOMEONE now or in the future that might consider losing a game check and one game played as a decent tradeoff for a Grey Cup bonus? QBs would go down left and right (as if they don't get hurt often enough as it is!).
I really don't want to sound like a whiner, but come on let's change something here because clearly this IS a problem. One game?
Help Anthony get justice
Fans of the CFL make your voice heard contact
Ex-Stamp DL Stu Laird is the President of the CFLPA and his email is: email@example.com