Pinball rebuts Pound

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

You can pull down Ricky Williams' shorts in public and get a laugh -- as Argos teammate Mike O'Shea did playfully yesterday on the Rogers Centre field -- but if you denigrate the CFL, don't expect Argos coach Michael Clemons to keep smiling.

The Pinball went tilt yesterday, launching into a measured tirade at World Anti-Doping Agency czar Dick Pound.

In particular, Clemons was outraged at Pound's allegation this week that by virtue of not having a drug policy, the CFL is "where you spend your jail time."

After first dismissing a question on the subject, a clearly irritated Clemons came back to it with a vengeance.

"The suggestion (Pound) has made makes light of what is a cultural institution in our country and something I take very seriously," Clemons said after the team's walkthrough in advance of tonight's game against Saskatchewan.

"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 running back Williams.

The NFL star is on loan to the Argos by the Miami Dolphins while serving a suspension for violation of the NFL's substance abuse program.

"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.

RICKY DOESN'T CARE

"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 an 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 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 at that."

Argos kicker Noel Prefontaine agreed with O'Shea, saying Williams has emerged as "a leader" in the Argos dressing room and should not be targetted just because he's been given an opportunity north of the border.

"I think it's evident we have had players up here who have checkered pasts in the States," Prefontaine said.

"But the CFL should not be ridiculed for giving second chances."

As for drug testing, Prefontaine said "bring it on."

"I don't think there's a widespread problem," Prefontaine said. "But (testing) needs to be in place for people who want to cheat the system and break records and do the things they are doing on this stuff."


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