WINNIPEG - Youíve got to hand it to CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.
As the man responsible for handing out supplemental discipline, three down footballís top cop took out his weapon and sprayed the field, taking down anyone who was even close to the dirty hit on Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce last Saturday.
Cohon not only fined Torontoís Brandon Isaac for the helmet-to-helmet shot, he hit Bomber linemen Steve Morley and Justin Sorensen for trying to do something about it.
Then, for good measure, he nailed corner Jovon Johnson for talking about it.
Iím surprised my paycheque wasnít docked for writing about it. Then again, itís not payday, yet.
When the dust had settled and Cohon had holstered his gun, the team that lost its starting quarterback to the very kind of hit pro football is trying to eliminate had three men down, while the bad guys had one.
What kind of message does that send?
Oh, weíre told Isaacís fine was ďsubstantial,Ē more than the others. But what does that mean?
Johnson told the world via Twitter heís out $300. The maximum fine is half a game cheque.
So a player making $4,000 a game ($72,000 per season) could feel $2,000 worth of pain.
Iím told Isaac didnít get the max.
Well, he should have.
What demands a maximum fine if not a deliberate hit to the head?
I get that it wasnít a late hit, and that he didnít launch himself, two mitigating factors the league spelled out in explaining its decision.
But Cohon apparently ignored the fact Isaac is a repeat offender, having been hit in the wallet earlier this season for a dangerous hit on Calgary running back Jon Cornish.
I spoke to a doctor whoís also a big sports fan Wednesday, and he said given what we now know about the effects of concussions, a hit like that should result in a suspension.
Give him one game for a first offence, five for a second and a full season for a third strike, was his suggestion, and the more I think about it the more sense that kind of approach makes.
Sure, thatís even harsher than the leagueís attempt at a drug policy, but the action is just as serious, if not worse. Doing steroids will hurt you later in life. Handing out concussions will hurt someone else. Do the math.
I realize these things take time, and precedents must be followed. Maybe weíll eventually get there.
But in the meantime, players still have to be protected.
Sometimes that means letting the game police itself.
Thatís where Morley and Sorensen came in, trying to deliver a little vigilante justice to Isaac, Sorensen right after the hit, Morley on the next series.
Flaggable plays, to be sure. But worth a financial hit, too?
Theyíre O-lineman, for peteís sake. Thatís valuable beer money.
The way this group seems to have bonded, the rest of the hogs will probably pitch in and spread the pain.
Which brings us to Johnson, who had the audacity to suggest, in a post-game interview with the Winnipeg Sun, that Argos defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones tells his players to take out Pierce.
Kind of like a bounty scandal, without the bounty.
Ka-ching, Johnson is out $300.
And here I thought taking a run at the refs was the post-game verbiage for players to avoid. Now they canít even bad-mouth the opposing coaches?
Thatís lousy for copy.
It also suggests the CFLís priorities are as scrambled as a concussed brain.
Letís see the leagueís top cop review this: he needs to worry less about censoring his players and more about protecting them.