Tuesday was the first opportunity for the Riders Head Coach Craig Dickenson and the rest of the team to address the Garrett Marino situation from Friday night.
The defensive lineman was issued a four game suspension stemming from three incidents that occurred in the Riders 28-13 win over the Ottawa Redblacks. Marino was ejected from the game following a low hit to Redblacks QB Jeremiah Masoli. The QB is expected to be out for 10-12 weeks. Ottawa shored up their quarterback vacancy on Monday by acquiring quarterback Nick Arbuckle from the Edmonton Elks in a trade.
Dickenson says there were no winners in this entire situation. “I understand the league had to come down hard and send a message and they did but we feel everybody involved included Jeremiah and our guys.”
The Riders Head Coach says the actions from Marino were disappointing and added they won’t be tolerated again. “He knows that this can’t ever happen again, our players know that as well, it’s a bad mark for the league, it’s not good for our organization and obviously it’s not good for the guys involved.”
Riders QB Cody Fajardo said he spoke to his teammate about the theatrics that followed the hit on Masoli. “You see a guy on the ground, wincing in pain, the last thing you want to do is celebrate, so that was very disappointing to see that, he’s got much better character, much better morale than that, he just made a mistake.”
One game of the suspension issued to Marino was for comments made to Masoli about his heritage that violated the league’s code of conduct.
Dickenson says they don’t believe in that portion of the suspension, and said they will support Marino if he chooses to appeal that part of the suspension.
At practice on Tuesday, the Riders Head Coach once again stated he didn’t believe that Marino was a racist.
“I know Garrett personally, I know how much he has grown in the last year, we’re not going to turn our backs on a guy that has shown that much growth in a short amount of time, last year I’m telling you he was rough on the edges, this year he still is, but it’s been a transformation in terms of reacting to what others say and do on the field and also in the locker room, I mean he’s very popular in the locker room and I think the guys respect him and they want to have his back on this.”
The league did not contact Dickenson and or any of the Riders about the alleged statements from Marino following Friday’s game according to the Head Coach.
No matter what happens in the appeal process with Marino, Dickenson says the defensive tackle will be sitting out this week and he will not be travelling with the team to Nova Scotia.
With the upcoming trip to the Maritimes for Touchdown Atlantic, Fajardo believes it’s a good time for the team to strengthen their bond. “We’re brothers, we talk things out, we hash things out, we don’t always agree on everything but the one thing we did in that locker room is guys let Garrett know how they felt about it, but we told him we’re going to support him cause he’s on our team and we’re going to help him through these tough times.”
Today was the first practice for the Riders without Pete Robertson, Dickenson said the team is hoping that the CFL sack leader is able to return in 4-6 weeks from a sprained ankle.
Kyran “Swerve” Moore was on the field practicing with a helmet on. The Riders Head Coach is hoping the receiver will be able to return to the Riders lineup after the team’s bye week during the first week of August.
Saskatchewan will practice Wednesday in Saskatchewan before flying to Halifax later in the day. The team will practice at Huskies Stadium at St.Mary’s University leading up to Saturday’s game.
You can listen to Touchdown Atlantic on 620 CKRM, Countdown to Kickoff begins at 9:00, Opening kickoff is 12:00.