VANCOUVER - A slap in the face is a slap in the face, regardless of whether you are wearing a football helmet and facemask.
While B.C. Lions defensive back Tad Kornegay is taking it all in stride as he prepares to face the Edmonton Eskimos for the second time in a month, he can hardly forget taking a hit from running back Jerome Messam.
“It’s football. It’s nothing,” said Kornegay. “I had to do what I had to do to get him out of the game.”
Messam was ejected after taking more than a tad of a swing at Kornegay, while confronting Lions defensive back Dante Marsh over a late hit in the end zone. Messam and a host of B.C. players were fined for the schoolyard scene in the 33-24 Lions victory.
“He fell for the bait,” Kornegay said. “Hey, I’m a veteran of the game and I know that he’s a hot head — well, he’s known to be a hot head — so I took advantage of the situation.
“It wasn’t really planned. I just saw it on the spur of the moment and I won. Even though I’m the one who got smacked in the face.”
Twice, if you include the fine from the league that followed.
“Yeah, I got fined for getting smacked in the head. I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I don’t understand that.
“I didn’t appeal it yet, I should have. I probably will.”
Just like he or one of his teammates will get in Messam’s face again on Saturday.
But don’t expect to see a replay, said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed.
“The margin for error is very slim. We need Jerome as a part of our game — we need all of our players as part of our game plan,” he said. “I think Jerome has really learned from that experience. He knew he made a mistake in retaliating but that was a mistake and I am very confident he has learned from that.
“If he makes that mistake again, then he will have two people to answer to.”
Especially with not only first place riding on this game, but also Messam’s chances at a 1,000-yard rushing season.
“I just don’t want any punches thrown or any extra-curricular activity that’s going to affect the game because, in hindsight, the things we did after the play may have affected the outcome of that game,” Reed said. “So we need to be smart about our approach.”