Comments come under fire

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

A day after Dick Pound's comments about the CFL's drug policy -- or lack thereof -- players and coaches were disappointed at the suggestion there are dopers playing pro football in Canada.

Calgary Stampeder Jay McNeil -- the teams CFLPA rep -- was saddened to hear the IOC drug Czar say by not having an anti-doping policy, the CFL is "where you spend your jail time."

"He has a history of doing this," said McNeil. "It's disappointing because if there are a couple of players who came up here to escape a drug policy, it paints the rest of us with the same brush.

"Certainly, 99% of the guys are not cheaters and it's disappointing to hear that being said about us."

McNeil was of course referring to Toronto Argonauts running back Ricky Williams, who is competing in the CFL this season following a one-year drug suspension from the NFL.

Argos coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons took particular exception to the comments by Pound.

"The suggestion (Pound) has made makes light of what is a cultural institution in our country and something I take very seriously," Clemons said.

"Don't reduce what means so much to me as a breeding ground for people who have trouble."

While Clemons may have missed Pound's main point -- that the CFL doesn't have but needs a drug policy -- the allegation was a clear shot at Williams.

"I didn't hear them and I don't want to hear them so don't tell me what he said," Williams responded when asked to comment on Pound's assertions.

"Who am I to say what the CFL needs? I've only been here for a year. It's not like my mind is on that stuff. I don't know what problem the CFL has or doesn't have."

What it clearly doesn't have is anti-doping policy, despite assurances from the league and player's association that it is committed to developing one.

That point was acknowledged by 14-year veteran Mike O'Shea yesterday. But the Argos linebacker pointedly stood up for Williams who he said has been a model citizen here.

"Ricky's faced a lot of adversity and he's handled it quite well," O'Shea said. "He's a great model for some of the guys on how to handle adversity. He's up front, he's a very good teammate, he's a very intelligent man.

"Ricky can handle himself. If (Pound's comments) ever affected him, then the rest of the team would be pretty upset because he's a teammate and a good teammate."

Eskimos linebacker A.J. Gass -- the club's chief CFLPA representative -- doesn't see any evidence of a drug problem.

"When you look around the room you aren't seeing any humongous freaks that are lifting the house (in terms of weights)," he said.

Edmonton's defensive back Malcolm Frank agrees with Pound.

"I think any league -- if you want to be credible -- should have a drug test."


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