It was yet another strange twist of fate in the Kyries Hebert saga.
Now that the import linebacker is actually willing to play in Canada again, he was not allowed into the country. And he may never play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers or any other CFL team again.
A Canadian immigration official refused Hebert entry into the country at the Emerson border crossing yesterday morning because of recent criminal charges in the U.S. Although a Texas court reduced three charges related to domestic abuse to two misdemeanours with no jail time, Hebert was still ruled inadmissible, Bombers GM Brendan Taman said.
The Bombers, who recently signed the holdout to a two-year CFL pact, plan to help Hebert appeal the decision. In fact, their immigration lawyer, Ken Zaifman, has already contacted the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles and is soliciting help from a local MP.
"According to his file, they think he's a risk (to re-offend)," Taman said. "We knew it was an issue coming in so, we prepped it with paperwork and what-not. When you get to the border, you have to go through an interview process, which he did, and they didn't like what they saw or what they heard."
Although Hebert had a travel permit from the Texas court to allow him to work in Canada, a person in that situation must apply for a waiver at the border to allow him into Canada, which is what the interview was all about, said David Davis, a local immigration lawyer with Davis and Associates who is not involved in this case.
"(The decision) depends on the type of criminal charges and it depends on the punishment and the position that the (victim) took," Davis said.
Hebert allegedly attacked his wife over a cellphone bill, at one point holding her head under water.
Hebert, who is staying in a hotel in Grand Forks, N.D., at the Bombers' expense, politely declined comment yesterday.
"I was told not to comment on the whole thing, man," he said.
In fact, Hebert was told he would be arrested immediately if he returned to any U.S.-Canada border crossing.
"It (Canadian immigration's decision) was kind of vague," said J.R. Rickert, Hebert's agent.
"There was really nothing specific. I guess what's considered a misdemeanour in the U.S. doesn't change the way the Canadian immigration people assess it.
"But there are so many players in the CFL right now who have had worse offences. And the strange thing is, his wife has been very supportive. She hasn't filed for divorce or filed any charges."
However, the immigration official involved told Hebert that he should have had brought official papers from his wife saying she was not pursuing the case.
"Obviously, it's pretty frustrating from everybody's end, including Kyries'," Taman said. "I have talked to him and tried to calm him down a little bit. I mean, he wants to play; he wants to work."
What did he say?
"You can't put that on TV," Taman responded with a laugh before the TV cameras.
Hebert was passed over in the Ottawa dispersal draft because CFL teams were worried about whether he would be allowed into the country due to his legal problems. But the Bombers claimed him on waivers after his charges were reduced to misdemeanours. Hebert then balked at joining Winnipeg and was suspended, but finally agreed to a new CFL pact last week.
"It seems like there's no end to this," Rickert said. "Every time there's closure, something else comes up."