The Winnipeg Blue Bombers say they were aware of a police investigation into then-Bomber Euclid Cummings after an incident in Vancouver in 2016 and informed the league it was underway.
Euclid Cummings, the former B.C. Lion defensive tackle who had his contract voided by the CFL on Wednesday, has been charged with four criminal counts, including sexual assault, stemming from incidents in Vancouver on Oct. 16, 2016. The Bombers played a regular season game at B.C. Place on Oct. 14, 2016.
Cummings was charged on April 27, 2017 with sexual assault, assault and uttering threats.
The Bombers say they were contacted by Vancouver police about the incident that ultimately led to the charges and passed that information onto the league.
“In November of 2016, we were notified by the Vancouver Police about a matter involving one of our then-players. Though charges had not been laid, we immediately informed the CFL,” the team said in a statement issued to 3DownNation. “As you know, this matter is now before the courts so we have nothing further to add except to say that this individual’s contract expired at the end of the 2016 season and was not renewed.”
Edmonton subsequently signed Cummings on Feb. 27, 2017, two months before he was charged by police. He played in 16 regular season games for the Eskimos last season making 21 tackles and registering eight sacks.
The Eskimos say they weren’t aware of the incident or the charges before he was signed or while he was a member of the team.
“We were unaware of the charges and will not comment further as the matter is before the courts,” the team said in a statement.
Ed Hervey was the general manager in Edmonton when the Eskimos signed Cummings but was fired on April 7, three weeks before he was charged. He is currently the general manager with the Lions and issued a statement on Wednesday’s after the league announced its decision to void the contract signed last month.
“We were given no indication by the player or his representation that these charges existed,” Hervey said in a statement. “I assure our fans, partners and supporters of the CFL across Canada, that we would not have offered him a contract had we known about this situation.”
However, the timeline raises questions as to why the CFL allowed Cummings to play in 2017 if they knew he was under investigation and particularly after charges were laid.
Former CFL commissioner Jeffery Orridge announced he was stepping down on April 12, just over two weeks before charges against Cummings were laid. Randy Ambrosie, who has taken a tougher stance on issues of domestic violence in his first year on the job, was named as his replacement on July 5, shortly after the season began.
A message left with the league wasn’t immediately returned.
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