Mitchell fined for his whistleblower Tweets that exposed Riders

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell says he’s been fined by the CFL for his whistleblower tweets that blew the lid off the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ personnel hijinks.

“I spoke with commissioner Orridge and I will be fined on the subject. It was mainly because of the tweet that broke it down and said extra players, extra practices, all that,” Mitchell told the Hustler and Lawless radio show in Winnipeg. “It’s not a question of being right. Sometimes it’s wrong to be right. It’s the way I went about it and keeping it in house, talking to my guys and talking to the CFL but not talking to be public just to be scrutinized.”

Mitchell started a firestorm with a series of Tweets last Tuesday that insinuated that the Riders were playing fast and loose with CFL roster rules. Subsequent reports indicated that the Riders were not only utilizing a significant number of players who were not under contract but paying those players as well. The CFL ultimately fined the Saskatchewan Roughriders $60,000 and reduced the team’s salary cap by $26,000.

According to a release issued by the league, the penalties came after an investigation “spanning several weeks” that included visits to team practices in Regina. The league found that the team used ineligible players in practice, including those on the six-game injured list and players not under contract.

“As Commissioner, I am compelled to make decisions consistent with protecting the competitive balance within our league, the spirit of our rules and the integrity of our game,” CFL Commissioner, Jeffrey Orridge said in a statement. “The recent conduct, behaviour and activities of the Saskatchewan Roughriders have compromised the reputation of the CFL.”

Mitchell led his team to a 19-10 victory over Saskatchewan on Saturday – a game that was not without its own controversy – and says he doesn’t regret his decision to go public.

“I wouldn’t say that I wish I hadn’t done it. I thought that something needed to be done about it. I could have gone about it a different way but at the moment I thought that was the necessary way and that’s why I did it,” he said. “I’m not going to back away from it. I thought public pressure would help the most out of anything and obviously it helped a little bit.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (958 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

25 Comments on Mitchell fined for his whistleblower Tweets that exposed Riders

  1. A little surprised by this….what about fines for Jones and spewing BS post game at Dickenson?

  2. It’s a bit concerning when a whistleblower is reprimanded. I assume the league is upset because Mitchell exposed the situation and forced the leagues hand.
    I wonder if Mitchell had said nothing would league have actually taken action or ignored the situation.
    My sense Mitchell thought the latter.

  3. I am not surprised that he got a fine because he pissed off the CFL head office when he forced their hand and made them institute fines and make statements etc. before they wanted to. Since they are still not finished their slow plodding investigation, I guess we can assume that if Bo hadn’t spoke up the Riders would still have an illegal practice roster and other violations…thanks you Bo you did do the right thing in going public even if the CFL doesn’t like it and the fans (other than in Sask) like it.

  4. The mentality behind this is scary. He is getting fined for letting us know what was going on and not keeping it in house. So we the fans are not to know when this kind of stuff happens.

  5. Perhaps it’s time to remember who pays the salaries. Is this our league or the commissioners? I suspected that he was not on the same page as the fans. This proves it.

  6. Maybe the next step will be to ban fans who make comments he finds unacceptable.

  7. Robert Ball // August 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm //

    In order to show our displeasure at the CFL Brass against a whistle blower, perhaps we should start a crowdfunding project to pay Bo’s fine. I am not a Stamps or Riders fan, just concerned that this kind of Commissioner action would discourage others speaking out.

    • Don Rycroft // August 16, 2016 at 11:04 pm //

      I’ll chip in.

      • HA1912GCC // August 17, 2016 at 12:13 pm //

        I would chip in, too. Fans should have done that when Bob Young expressed his irritation with the officiating; he also received a fine, but once again the league felt compelled to actually do something the following off season.

  8. The bottom line is that I have no confidence in how he would have responded if Bo had not gone public. I guess the next time Bo you will have to get the word out threw someone he can’t fine. I doubt it would have the same impact. You’re a hero in my book and should be rewarded for standing up for our league.

  9. Count me in Robert. Let’s pay his fine and give him a bonus. How do we make this happen. I’m ready to donate.

  10. Jim Bentley // August 16, 2016 at 8:14 pm //

    Yet again the commisioner’s actions make him look like the worst kind of bureaucrat and less like a leader.

  11. gofundme.com I think you would find many fans across the league would be willing to help Bo out after what he did for the league. Although yes I agree he could have found a better way to go about it.

  12. Bo Levi Mitchell is in a Union. The CFLPA. He should have first gone to them with his concerns about those dirty cheating Riders. He’s lucky the Union doesn’t punt him out for this.

  13. Anonymous // August 16, 2016 at 10:11 pm //

    BLM is being fined because what he did goes against the leagues social media code of conduct.

  14. Rider realist // August 16, 2016 at 10:35 pm //

    Guys really shouldn’t be shooting their mouth off He actually works for CFL. No need to fine him. Nor is there really a need to fine a team that’s only won 4 games in the last 2 seasons and is trying to be competitive.

  15. Lindsay Wilcox // August 16, 2016 at 11:37 pm //

    He did the right thing, but not the right way – blowing the whistle, but he should have kept it to notifying CFL “administration”. I am glad to see he accepts that he should have done it differently, but I am also glad that he doesn’t regret – forcing the CFL’s hand. It would have been very messy had the Riders won a few games and then it becomes public knowledge – would there have been teams claiming their losses should be overturned ?

  16. I expected a fine, but was pleasantly surprised he wasn’t…until now. This reminds me of the No Fun League, making the wrong choice.

  17. Chopper11 // August 17, 2016 at 12:22 pm //

    A league has to have guidelines. As a professional player, you are to follow guidelines. The coach, the GMs, the teams, AND the players have guidelines to follow, including engaging in whistle blowing on social media. They don’t want to encourage that, they want to encourage other methods. Suck it up folks, Bo already has and took it like a man. Similarly working in the CFL and publicly criticizing the officials, having/paying ‘pre-practice-roster players, standing on (who knew?) the centre field logo during intros, ratio infringements, uniform infringements etc., – Fine-worthy.

    • I think you’re on the mark here, it’s not a bad move for the league to fine Mitchell. If the Rider’s are being fined for breaking the rules and tarnishing the league, it makes sense the whistleblower who ran to social media to report it, would be as well since it drags the laundry out to the public and prevents the league from managing this at their discretion.

      If everyone thinks the league wouldn’t have fined the Rider’s without Mitchell’s tweet, I think we should have bigger concerns on the state of our league.

  18. Not a Stamps fan…but good for you Mitchell for calling it the way it is…and exposing that cheater Jones. But then again what do you expect from a team that went over the spending cap in 2013 and got fined as a result in their effort to buy a GC?

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