Another day at the office

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

To paraphrase The Answer, 'Are we still talking about a fight in practice?'

Somewhere, you can hear Allen Iverson questioning the fuss made over a routine practice fight.

Most CFL players will tell you Wednesday's scuffle between Calgary Stampeders teammates Sandro DeAngelis and Burke Dales is nothing out of the ordinary.

The only newsworthy item is it was two kickers getting into a skirmish -- not two beefy lineman from opposite sides of the ball -- and that it escalated from a verbal spat instead of physical battle.

It seems if head coach John Hufnagel wasn't coming off a Grey Cup championship there would be more questions about team discipline.

This is a team that had two defensive backs -- Dwight Anderson and Davanzo Tate -- shoving each other in the endzone during a 48-10 win over the B.C. Lions.

But football is a physical, intense, emotional job.

Anyone who asks someone to perform on the edge with controlled violence and doesn't expect the line to be crossed now and then is clearly not experienced in the sport.

There is rarely a practice that goes by when someone doesn't add a shove to the end of a play or bicker at a teammate for something they didn't like.

Most times, it ends there -- players walk away and cool off.

In a locker-room of 60 or so testosterone-filled men, not everyone will be best friends, and the obvious cliques get built.

The kickers are usually loners, which makes less sense of the fight between DeAngelis and Dales.

But even married couples have disagreements and, on the football field, things can get out of hand quite easily.

In a normal office, a fistfight between long-term co-workers would be cause for suspension or even outright dismissal.

A football team isn't a normal office.

Do you walk around your workplace naked every day?

Or does anyone scream loudly at you if you make a simple mistake?

Does someone tape you to a goalpost and douse you with water on your birthday?

It happens all the time with football players.

In the CFL, there is a lot less business conducted on a day-to-day basis than there would be in the NFL.

By rule, the players are only kept at the stadium for four and a half hours.

Sometimes a big-league mentality -- all work and no play -- can backfire. NFL teams have more control of their players for longer periods of time.

Extreme discipline can backfire in this league. Just ask the Toronto Argonauts and new coach Bart Andrus, who came straight from the NFL.

He suspended receiver Arland Bruce last week and eventually was forced to trade the important offensive weapon when the situation couldn't be resolved.

Should Hufnagel start cracking down on each and every outburst or skirmish, he would risk taking the intensity out of his team.

There is also a slim chance he could lose control.

Right now, that isn't happening, and the Stamps can make the talk go away by continuing to win.


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