Brown backs fine

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

News that Agustin Barrenechea was fined, and not suspended, for his hit on Kevin Glenn was met with much anger among the Bomber faithful yesterday.

One player in the Winnipeg locker-room, however, figured the Eskimos linebacker got what he deserved. Defensive tackle Doug Brown, speaking before CFL commissioner Mark Cohon made his ruling, said a fine would do.

"The suspension thing, it's going to be appealed and it's going to be a long and lengthy process with the charter the CFLPA has invoked," said Brown, who turned 34 yesterday. "So that's going to be a long process. But I think things always hit closer to home when they're financial."

Brown failed to point out that a one-game suspension would have been more costly for Barrenechea because he would have lost a game cheque worth approximately $3,300. As a CFLPA representative, however, Brown is always looking out for the best interests of the players.

He is also wary of advocating suspensions for hits on quarterbacks, considering that's what he does for a living.

CFL chief operating officer Michael Copeland admitted yesterday that, based on precedent, a suspension would have been overturned anyway.

Brown pointed out that it's a different story south of the border, where NFL players don't have as much power as their CFL counterparts when it comes to suspensions.

"They don't have an appeals process," Brown said. "When their commissioner makes a decree, it's absolute."

Coincidentally, the NFL suspended New York Jets safety Eric Smith for one game and fined him $50,000 yesterday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin on Sunday.

The CFL's collective bargaining agreement doesn't expire for another year and a half, so Brown is pleased, for the most part, that players have an opportunity to defend themselves.

"When it works in your favour, it's the best system," Brown said. "When it's working against you, it's like, 'How can that guy be playing?' It's definitely an eye-of-the-beholder situation.

"When you look at it calmly and you don't have a bias, I don't agree with dictatorships in sport or otherwise. There should always be an (appeal) process like that, because no ruling should be absolute unless it's tried and argued."

As for playing the Eskimos on Saturday, Brown isn't a big believer in an eye for an eye. It doesn't mean, however, that he won't have a little extra motivation to hunt down Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray in the rematch.

"We're supposed to try and take quarterbacks out of the game legally," Brown said. "If we can do it, that's what we're paid to do. I don't think (the illegal hit) really changes our perspective.

"Maybe it makes it a little more personal. And it's definitely going to make things a lot uglier on Saturday, I can guarantee you that."

Bombers offensive lineman Ryan Donnelly played with Barrenechea in Hamilton and is good friends with the Calgary native. He believes his buddy didn't mean any harm.

"He's not a dirty player at all," Donnelly said before the fine was issued. "I've played with him. He's a great guy, a friend of mine. I consider him a really good friend. We hang out, we go out. He's a standup guy, but it was just one of those errors in judgment.

"... As far as being intentional, I don't think so. And knowing his character, you wouldn't think that."

The Bombers return to the practice field today at 11:15 a.m.


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