While the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the B.C Lions Saturday night to clinch a home playoff game, much of the talk surrounding the game centred on a hit Riders quarterback Zach Collaros sustained from BC’s Odell Willis and what transpired after.
Many were in disbelief that the Lions were not charged with roughing the passer and that Collaros was allowed to continue playing and not taken off the field to go under concussion protocol. Collaros stayed in the game for a couple of plays after the hit, one that was called a penalty after a challenge flag was thrown by Riders head coach Chris Jones.
In a statement Monday, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie admitted the league did not do a good job in policing the play and its aftermath.
The statement reads:
I want to acknowledge that our response to the Odell Willis hit on Zach Collaros this past weekend was clearly inadequate.
First of all, the play should have been flagged and a roughing the passer penalty should have been imposed by the on-field officiating crew without Saskatchewan having to use its’ challenge.
Secondly, the Injury Spotter, who has access to several camera angles in the Command Centre, including the view from the “all 24 (players)” camera, should have immediately stopped the game and had Collaros removed from the field for examination upon the first signs of distress.
Finally, we should have publicly acknowledged these errors and communicated with the media and fans promptly instead of waiting until last evening to share a statement.
I am committed to removing reckless and dangerous play from our game. (Willis’ hit on Collaros is being reviewed today for discipline.) The fact that we did not respond adequately is not acceptable to me. I have made that very clear to our personnel today. We are reviewing our processes, protocols and rules to ensure this chain of events is not repeated.
After the game, Jones said Collaros was taken out of the game for precautionary measures and that he believed his quarterback would be fine.
The Riders have the bye in the last week of the CFL regular season. They will have their eyes on Vancouver Saturday night when the Lions meet the Stampeders. If B.C wins the game, the Riders finish first and will play either Winnipeg or Calgary in the Western Final at Mosaic Stadium November 18. If the Stampeders win, the Bombers will be at Mosaic Sunday, November 11 for the Western semi-final.