It’s been a long and crazy off-season full of drama and controversy so why would the regular season be any different?
Coming into Thursday’s season opener, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had only won one of their past eleven season openers but the favourites to win the East Division bucked that trend with a 23-17 win over the Roughriders.
We should be talking about plays like Frankie Williams’ 68-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Instead, we are here again talking about player safety.
How many times do we need to bring this up? How many more rules does the league need to put in place before things change?
Simoni Lawrence has been in this league for eight years. He knows better. You might try to argue that this was a “bang bang” play and yes, he did apologize, but Collaros clearly wasn’t a threat. He was sliding all the way. Would Lawrence launch himself at William Powell like that? Doubtful.
Yes, this play was escalated to a 25-yard penalty but what does that really do? Simoni gets to stay in the game and possibly do it again. (Not that he had to as Cody Fajardo was forced out of the game bringing third stringer Isaac Harker in for his CFL debut)
The league needs to step up its punishments to fast track this garbage out of the game. Plays like this deserve an instant ejection and a maximum fine. What if Simoni Lawrence was forced to sit out as long as Zach Collaros has to sit out? Is that too far?
The league can take away all the padded practices, add all the BYE weeks and preach player safety all they want but the players need to step up and take some responsibility here. At the end of the day, dangerous hits begin and end with them.
Most of all, one has to feel for Zach Collaros. Players get labeled as “injury prone” quite often but did he ask to get clobbered by Odell Willis last season? What more could Zach have done to avoid this hit, just four plays into the game?
No one really knows what the diagnosis for Zach is at this point but many are hoping he really takes time to think about his future before getting back on the field.
The real tragedy of this situation is the fact that it was one hundred per cent preventable.