Argos just want to know the rules

Argos defensive lineman Ejiro Kuale during a team walkthrough at the University of Toronto campus...

Argos defensive lineman Ejiro Kuale during a team walkthrough at the University of Toronto campus in Mississauga, Ont., July 22, 2011. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:39 AM ET

TORONTO - Jim Barker has decided he has said enough.

Now he wants to hear from the CFL.

The Argonauts GM and head coach refused to address the Ejiro Kuale hit beyond what he told the Sun’s Frank Zicarelli on Sunday.

The questions Monday began: “Jim, are there two standards ...?” and before the questioner could finish, Barker shut him down.

“I’m not going to comment on that. I’m not commenting on anything about that. I did yesterday. You can talk to the league. Maybe they can interpret it better than I can.”

At question is the ejection of Ejiro Kuale after the Argo middle linebacker launched himself at Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce.

When the dust had cleared, Kuale was assessed a major foul for rough play and ejected.

“I want to see what the league says,” Barker said. “I want to see what the league decision is. It wasn’t just a hit on Cleo that was in question so I’m going to see what the league says. Hopefully they come out honestly and we’ll see what happens.”

Barker said he was not asked his opinion on the hit by the league, but he did give it.

Now it is in their hands.

He said his silence had nothing to do with the threat of incurring a fine from the league. He’s made his stance on this known and awaits a response from the league.

Barker wasn’t alone in this approach. Kuale all but resigned himself to the league discretion and chose his words carefully when he did choose to comment.

“I really don’t have (any) thoughts on it,” the Argos middle linebacker said. “All I do is do my job. I play football and everybody else handles their business.”

Kuale did defend himself to a degree as the conversation went on.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and the fact that it did I just take it in stride and try and learn from it,” he said.

Kuale said he led with his shoulder, just as he has been taught, and was already well into his tackling mode when Pierce released the ball.

He said he would most definitely appeal any fine should one be levied.

“Most definitely,” he said. “I am a clean player. I take pride in how I play the game and that’s what the appeal process is for.”

Asked if he thought he delivered a late hit, Kuale again said no.

“One-and-a-half steps,” he said. “When the ball was being released that’s about the time I was in my hitting position and there is no coming out of there once you do your two steps and gather to make a form tackle. It’s kind of impossible.”

Kuale will be hearing from the league one way or another later this week.

Either it will be the league telling him it is dipping into his bank account and relieving him of some of his hard-earned cash or to explain why he was ejected from a game for the kind of football hit that happens regularly over the course of a season.

The only difference being Kuale is the first in recent memory to be ejected for it.

Anyone interested enough to play back the tape of the game, as the league undoubtedly will, in frame-by-frame action can find equally damning evidence of intent to injure by the Blue Bombers.

Watch the hit that knocked Cleo Lemon out of the game. Yes, he was rushing with the ball and that is a difference from the Kuale hit on Pierce, who had already released it.

But purely on the intent- to-injure grounds, watch Joe Lobendahn as he drops his helmet into Lemon who is also dropping his head. As the play comes to an end Lobendahn momentarily stares down at the prone quarterback who was still trying to find his missing chicklets, then steps past the fallen Lemon, and does one of those circular fist pumps to celebrate the downed opponent.

The question being asked around Argos camp is why was that not intent to injure.

Sack leader Odell Willis got in on the act a little later. With Dalton Bell in at quarterback and Willis having been forced wide and coming at Bell from behind, Bell got rid of the football. Willis arrives two steps later and buries his helmet in Bell’s lower back.

Somehow Bell got up from the hit and appeared to show no ill effects from the hit. How, we don’t know.

You might think the referee’s view of the play had to be blocked but the tape shows the back judge with a clear view of things.

The result: A roughing-the-passer call but no ejection.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the Argos would like a level playing field.

Buck Pierce came into the game having already taken some vicious hits and, whether intentionally or not, officials might looking out for the Winnipeg pivot?

Perhaps Bell put it best.

“Just as long as they are consistent, as long as the refs are consistent and make it fair for everyone, not just Buck Pierce or Anthony Calvillo,” Bell said. “If it’s a hit on a third stringer on another team (it should be called the same way). As long as it’s consistent.”


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