CFL suspends Levingston

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

The Canadian Football League has suspended Argos return specialist Bashir Levingston for his actions following the Labour Day game.

The league issued a notice to Levingston yesterday of a one-game suspension, but he can appeal and likely will do so through the Canadian Football League Players Association.

Pending the appeal, Levingston may miss Toronto's game this Friday in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Levingston threw his helmet into a crowd of people above the railing over the Argos' dressing room following the team's game against Hamilton at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Levingston reacted angrily, claiming someone in the crowd spit on him.

The Argos disciplined Levingston the following day with an undisclosed fine and ordered him to apologize to a young boy who was hit with the helmet. It was reported that the boy, who was not identified, did not spit on Levingston, but became the unintended target of the players' projectile.

The league conducted an investigation through its football operations department. Vice-president of football operations Ed Chalupka forwarded a recommendation to commissioner Tom Wright. A spokesperson said Wright issued the suspension because of Levingston's "inappropriate act."

A player has 10 days to appeal and a hearing has to take place within seven days.

"It was wrong for me throwing the helmet, but the league (doesn't) do (anything) to protect the players knowing that's how it is in Hamilton," Levingston said yesterday. "I've never been in any trouble before...I'm kind of mad at the league's decision and disappointing in the league, too, for not doing anything to help the players and for not trying to find out what happened. The league is supposed to protect its players, which it doesn't.

"I could have been seriously hurt, too, and what's the league going to do about that? They've got the power to suspend you whenever they want and that's what they've chosen.

"But they need to do something about players being spit on and have stuff being thrown at them ... You react in a negative way, which I shouldn't have, then they want to penalize you. I think it's like a double standard.

"I'm going to roll with it and hopefully no situation like that happens again," he added. "If it does, I know to act in a different manner. But the league needs to do more to protect its players. Players shouldn't be throwing helmets into the crowd, but stuff shouldn't be thrown (at players). They should have more security or a ramp or something knowing that's how Hamilton fans are."

Levingston is surprised the league took so long to make a decision.

"They're going to wait two, three weeks later and say I'm suspended for a game? Whatever," he said. "Tell the league they need to do more to protect its players."

Argos head coach Pinball Clemons preferred not to discuss whether he is surprised by the suspension, but said it's the league's responsibility to make sure players are protected and not provoked.

"Guys shouldn't be subjected to people spitting on them and throwing stuff at them," he said. "I think it's a two-way street."


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