Top News

Alouettes' Tommie Campbell dodges suspension for role in Stamps brawl

Montreal Alouettes’ Tommie Campbell, front, and Edmonton Eskimos’ Kenny Stafford fight for a loose ball in Edmonton on June 14, 2019.
Montreal Alouettes’ Tommie Campbell, front, and Edmonton Eskimos’ Kenny Stafford fight for a loose ball in Edmonton on June 14, 2019.

Tall and slender, Alouettes cornerback Tommie Campbell could have passed for a young Cassius Clay in the movies, instead of Will Smith, had he ever been bitten by the thespian bug.

And now we know Campbell can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Fast on his feet, he can elude punches as well, it seems.

Campbell was one of three players fined by the Canadian Football League Thursday for their roles during a pregame brawl last Saturday before the Als met the Calgary Stampeders.

While the teams were near the end of their warm-up sessions, Campbell, a former Stampeder, connected with a punch to the head of Calgary linebacker Wynton McManis, who’s on the injured list. Montreal defensive-back Jarnor Jones also landed a punch to starting running-back Don Jackson, who returned that day after suffering a concussion.

All three players have been levied an undisclosed amount by the league. No suspensions were issued.

“I’m playing this week. That’s a good thing,” Campbell said. “And we came out with the win. I can’t complain. As long as everyone got fined, I’m cool with it. As long as I didn’t get suspended and everyone else got fined.

“Just hold everyone to the same standards. Don’t change standards for another guy. I understand. I didn’t initiate the fight … but it takes two to tango. I accept my role in that.”

Nobody has explained, either after the game or this week, what precisely initiated the imbroglio, although the Als have a number of former Stamps on their roster. There certainly had to be some pregame discussions involved and, considering McManis wasn’t in uniform, it would be easy to jump to conclusions.

Als head coach Khari Jones clearly wasn’t condoning what occurred and spoke with Campbell and Jones.

“I saw it at the end and I’ve heard our version, not theirs,” he said. “The biggest thing I know is punches were thrown, on both sides. You can’t have that before a game. I don’t like the look or feel of that. It’s supposed to be about what’s on the field. I want to make sure, with this team, it stays that way.”

The one thing Campbell has been adamant about — even after the Als’ come-from-behind overtime victory over Calgary — was he reacted after McManis, he claimed, threw the first punch. Campbell said he was merely defending himself.

“Could I have handled the situation differently? Of course. Violence is never the answer,” said the 6-foot-2, 203-pounder. “He threw punches. I didn’t get hit; I’m light on my toes. I’m not trying to promote violence, but I have to defend myself.

“Kids look up to me. I could have handled the situation differently. Ultimately, that’s not what happened. I defended myself. He wasn’t even playing in the game and he tried me. I knew, at the end of the day, I was just defending myself.

“Three punches were thrown at me,” Campbell continued. “None of them hit. I threw one or two out there. It might have been two; I don’t know. It’s my first time in nine years (of professional football) I’ve ever been in any situation like this.”

Referee Kim Murphy was busy during the game, penalizing the teams for more than 230 yards combined. Calgary took the majority of the infractions — 13 for 141 yards. But early in the game, Campbell was penalized for unnecessary roughness.

“We never want it to come to what happened. That doesn’t represent me or this team,” Jones said. “I don’t mind them talking, going back and forth. That seems to be part of the game now. But you have to be able to contain yourself, and hold back regardless of the situation.

“I feel it was push more on one side. Still, I go with what our team could have done better. I was happy it didn’t pour onto the field. There were some opportunities during the game where it could have escalated. I was adamant. I wanted everyone who started to finish the game. Not to bring anything that happened onto the field. They did a good job of that.”

Meanwhile, starting quarterback Vernon Adams, who suffered a minor injury to his quad against Calgary, practised sparingly on Thursday. But Jones said it wouldn’t be an issue when the Als meet Toronto Sunday afternoon in Moncton, N.B.

Offensive-tackle Tony Washington hasn’t practised because of personal reasons and is doubtful. He’d be replaced by Chris Schleuger with Kennedy Estelle potentially coming off the practice roster to play right tackle for Schleuger.

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

twitter.com/HerbZurkowsky1

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

Recent Stories