System fails QB Glenn

The CFL admitted that it didn't suspend Agustin Barrenechea for his hit on Bombers quarterback...

The CFL admitted that it didn't suspend Agustin Barrenechea for his hit on Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn because it would be overturned on appeal. (Sun Media/Brian Donogh)

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

The reactions in Edmonton and Winnipeg were polar opposites and not unexpected after Eskimos linebacker Agustin Barrenechea escaped with a fine for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn last week.

Somewhat surprising was the fact the CFL admitted last night that it didn't suspend Barrenechea because it felt it would be overturned on appeal, based on precedent.

A perfect example of precedent thwarting the CFL's suspension attempts in the past occurred last summer, when the league tried to ban Edmonton's A.J. Gass for one game after he threw an opponent's helmet. He won on appeal because previous helmet-tossing incidents resulted only in fines.

"We have a system in place that needs to be overhauled," CFL chief operating officer Michael Copeland said. "It's a system that prevents issuing penalties of a more substantial nature in incidents we think it's justified.

"... With respect to similar hits (like the one on Glenn), we have established a standard that is a fine rather than a suspension."

The problem for the CFL is the current collective bargaining agreement with the CFL Players' Association doesn't expire until a few days before the start of the 2010 season.

"We have no ability to change the standard at this point," Copeland said. "We can only change the standard with the agreement and support of the CFLPA. We've not yet been able to come to an agreement."

Commissioner Mark Cohon fined six players yesterday, including Barrenechea, for their actions during or after Friday's game, a 30-23 Bomber win. Winnipeg's Romby Bryant and Dominic Picard were fined after getting ejected for rough play, while Cam Hall was pinched for post-game comments about the officiating.

The other Edmonton players fined were Dario Romero for unsportsmanlike conduct and Jason Goss, who was also tossed, for rough play.

Sources say Barrenechea was fined $1,000, while the other five were slapped with penalties of lesser amounts.

No suspensions mean the aforementioned players will all be in the lineup Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium when the Bombers (5-8) meet the Eskimos (7-6) in what could be a heated rematch.

Barrenechea drilled his helmet into the left side of Glenn's head just after he released a pass in the final two minutes of Friday's game. He was given a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer but was not ejected.

Glenn suffered jaw pain and wooziness as a result of the hit, but he is expected to start on Saturday night.

Glenn refused to speak with the media yesterday, but, in a positive sign for the Blue and Gold, he ran sprints with his teammates yesterday morning. He went on teammate Doug Brown's radio show last night and said he has "no comment" and "no opinion" on Barrenechea's fine.

Glenn did say, however, that he was happy some of his teammates came to his defence.

Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia told Sun Media he was "very respectful" of Cohon's decision, while the Bombers were certainly not happy, judging by the passive-aggressive tone of their only official comment on the matter.

"The league has a responsibility and an obligation to protect the players of our game. The type of incident that occurred -- blatant, helmet-to-helmet contact, which can lead to career-ending injuries for our star athletes -- has no place on the field," president and CEO Lyle Bauer said in a press release.

"... We truly hope the incident from Friday night involving a blatant helmet-to-helmet blow does not occur in future weeks in the Canadian Football League because of the precedent that was set today."


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