Matthews fined $5,000 for comments on CFL, Williams
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail[/i]
The Canadian Football League has fined Montreal Alouettes head coach Don Matthews $5,000 for comments he made on Monday regarding the Toronto Argonauts' signing of suspended National Football League running back Ricky Williams.
Matthews accused the league of having its "head in the sand" for ignoring league rules that state a player cannot join a CFL team if he is under contract to another league. Williams has a contract with the Miami Dolphins.
He also said the move makes the league look "cheap and second rate," adding that it is "pandering to the NFL."
Matthews also directed criticism directly at the Argos for their suggestions that Williams could be a community role model in Toronto, saying that signing the running back had "nothing to do with putting the guy out together with schoolchildren. It has to do with selling tickets. It's time someone told the truth."
As CFL fines go, $5,000 is considered significant. But this is not the first time Matthews and CFL commissioner Tom Wright have been at odds. At the 2003 Grey Cup game in Regina, Matthews used the coaches' news conference to put heat on Wright over the issue of the league's honouring coaches' contracts when clubs go into bankruptcy. Matthews got his message across, but Wright was clearly irked and the issue went nowhere.
Then, during the 2004 season, the Als were twice caught videotaping opposing coaches on the sidelines during games, a tactic used to steal signals that violated no rule but drew public condemnation from Wright.
This week, Matthews was also publicly critical of the league's introduction of video replay to review some on-field calls this coming season, saying the league would be better served to hire more officials.
Montreal owner Robert Wetenhall is well known throughout the league as a staunch opponent of Wright's leadership.
The Alouettes had no comment on Matthews's fine. Wright could not be reached for comment.