Davis: CFL teams should pay salaries of drug-suspended players

It’s time for CFL teams to take some responsibility for any of their players testing positive for using performance-enhancing drugs.

It’s time to make them pay the salaries of their drug-suspended players.

Saskatchewan Roughriders tailback/returner Marcus Thigpen will have to surrender two games’ pay after he was assessed a two-game suspension because he tested positive in November for using a banned, anabolic steroid. His positive test was revealed by the CFL two months after offensive lineman Bruce Campbell, Thigpen’s teammate, received a two-game suspension for using a different steroid.

Thigpen was likely going to be a key member of Saskatchewan’s offence this season. Campbell is a free agent who could re-sign with Saskatchewan or join any CFL team. Both players were with the Roughriders last season when they were caught using PEDs, but the current rules allow the team to take virtually no responsibility and suffer no punishments. All the Roughriders have done is issue statements saying they’re disappointed in their players.

That’s not right. With two verified cheaters in their lineup, the Roughriders advanced within one game of qualifying for the 2018 Grey Cup.

We’re not saying the Roughriders were complicit in the cheating; there’s no way a CFL team would advocate or provide PEDs for its players. But the team should be responsible for ensuring its players follow the rules, knowing that a first positive test incurs a two-game suspension, a second gets nine games, a third gets a full season and a fourth earns a lifetime ban. The CFL doesn’t test for recreational drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine, choosing instead to focus on drugs that give athletes an unfair advantage.

Campbell and Thigpen hadn’t been playing pro football before joining the Roughriders last season. Upon their arrival in Saskatchewan, the Roughriders needed to conduct a thorough de-briefing: How did the players train? Did they use PEDs? Can we do a blood test?

It’s not just the Roughriders. Every team has to be responsible for educating its players about the rules, the well-documented dangers of using PEDs and the reasons why they’re illegal. PEDs, such as steroids and human growth hormones, help athletes get stronger and faster. It was remarkable last season that Campbell and Thigpen were able to ultimately earn starter’s roles with the Roughriders. Now we know how that happened.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say Campbell and Thigpen earned annual salaries of $90,000 in 2017; that’s $5,000 for each of their team’s 18 games. Regardless of whether Thigpen and/or Campbell play this season and forfeit paycheques during their respective two-game suspensions, the Roughriders should be forced to pay $20,000 in salaries. Give the money to the CFL Alumni Association, maybe designate it for the CFLAA’s Dire Needs Fund, or donate it to local charities. And don’t say CFL teams can’t afford it — every game there are players stashed on injury lists who are receiving full salaries even though they’re not really injured.

Punishment should be the same for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when receiver Mike Jones was suspended two games last year, or when the Calgary Stampeders lost returner Roy Finch for a two-game suspension. Make those teams pay the salaries of Jones and Finch during their suspensions.

This isn’t a new idea: Sports Illustrated suggested years ago that pro teams continue paying their suspended players so the franchises would make more concerted efforts to educate and control their players. Of course no team owners would set up a system that punishes them for someone else’s transgressions, even if it’s the right thing to do.

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.
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Darrell Davis
About Darrell Davis (124 Articles)
Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.

46 Comments on Davis: CFL teams should pay salaries of drug-suspended players

  1. Is this a joke?

  2. Antlerman // March 14, 2018 at 10:29 am //

    You can tell this guy has never his own buiness why and how can an employer control what an employee does 24 7 impossble and stupid to think so.

    • Antlerman, I agree. It seems no one has to be responsible for their own actions anymore. I don’t know Davis.. But it sounds like an attempt to suck up to the players. They’re BIG boys, wanting BIG money!! PEDs are not new, and they know better. Ridiculous statement Davis.

  3. Jeremiah was a bull frog // March 14, 2018 at 10:30 am //

    Once again Darrell Davis the old SK radio man on the outside looking in on the SK Roughriders is writing his ridiculous idiotic comments. Davis your a joke and have no idea how a league or a proffessional team is run. The team has no responsibility for what a person does in his or her personal time. They hire an employee like any other business.
    Man I’m embarrassed your from SK. I honestly wish you would stick to Radio so that the rest of the Counrty dosent have to read how ridiculously over the top your articles really are.
    I can hardly wait until the day comes when skeletons start falling out of the closet.
    What a joke!

    • Darrell Davis to the best of my knowledge never been caught cheating. No wonder rider nation do not like him. He dosen’t fit in.

      • True Green // March 15, 2018 at 12:24 am //

        Thunderbolt, to the best of my knowledge, Never been caught making an intelligent comment on his site. All your comments are good for is propping up other trash talkers. Not even good enough to talk your own trash or come out with a positive statement about whatever team you cheer for. Judging by the chip on your shoulder, I’m guessing you’re a Calgary fan. But it’s not like Calgary’s ever cheated or had a player used steroids hey?

  4. Edward Leslie // March 14, 2018 at 10:33 am //

    Darrell, you’re an idiot. It’s the players that make the decision to take drugs.
    The CFL had NO drug pokicy for so long that even a mediocre policy was looked upon as a quantum leap for the league. But it’s time to improve whats there now.
    My suggestion would be to eliminte the too soft two game suspension, as of 2019.
    First offence: 9 games. Second offence: One year. Third offence: Go back to the US of A, and don’t come back!
    The Commissioner should also include suspensions for narcotics usage, drunk driving and spousal abuse or any conduct that is deemed detrimental or embarrassing to the CFL.

    • You are right the CFL has NO drug policy. Why do they need one? Just warn the players of the risk and use at your own risk.
      No need for suspensions etc for PEDs this isn’t about drunk driving, spousal abuse etc it’s about a player making a decision to bulk up and take steroids, he’s only hurting himself in the long run.

      • I agree it’s a personal decision to take steroids. If you are a Canadian “O” lineman and you want to bulk up to 300 pounds and make it in the CFL it’s the only way.
        Every “O” lineman is on steroids, the CFL either ignores it or the players and their trainers are masking it.

        Without steroids there would be NO Canadian “O” linemen

  5. Rider4life // March 14, 2018 at 10:34 am //

    You nailed it To be. Alot of these drugs these athletes take are for strengthen their bones and muscles as less injuries on their bodies so saves them from getting hurt and not playing.if these drugs are that stop making it as the one thigpen and others take has been around since the 60s. As cfl says nothing on weed which I agree but cocaine should be dealt with. As this idiot reporter should be gone like vanestone can’t report worth shit. Every team has guys popping or shooting to make them the best they can do going on for years and people know that all that training makes a good athlete but taking something that makes your bones stronger and muscles so hoping you don’t get hurt since it’s a physical sport nobody off the street going to come and try play and not get hurt. Just my opion but some enchancing drugs should be allowed as for cocaine it should not be tolerated period.

  6. solara2000 // March 14, 2018 at 10:38 am //

    OK. Make the rules. Enforce the rules. Fine the players as per the rules. Pay the game day pay for the fines. So it’s not the player who suffers the consequences for the culpable behaviour of breaching the rules,, it’s the team. Hey why bother?
    The players are not naive kids; they are adults who have been living with the story of drugs, the reality of the destructive nature of drugs, the weekly drug testing regimens in all pro (and Olympic) sports leagues and the very public censure of abusers.
    Yes, lets pay their salary. Don’t think so.

  7. Rider4life // March 14, 2018 at 10:39 am //

    Darrel Davis you should go report in Ralph goodale as seems you 2 don’t know shit what your talking about and should have retired years ago. Your both an embarrassment to sask and to Canadians along with bill Boyd.

    • True Green // March 15, 2018 at 12:28 am //

      Hahai love when people bring up politics on a football thread. I can’t help it, I do it too.

      Davis ought to be excommunicated from Sask, as should Ralph Goodale. Send them both to the east to live with the liberals that don’t understand the west.

  8. Blue rules // March 14, 2018 at 10:43 am //

    I agree the team should ALSO be fined double, to force them to get involved, but the players are responsible for their own choices and should be suspended without pay.

  9. What a pile of you know what. Every time this guy writes something for 3 down nation, he just comes across as stupider than before. Really the CFL teams administration should be responsible for what grown men are doing 24/7. Hell a mother or father of a 2 year old have a hard time controlling what a 2 year old will swallow when their backs are turned. We are not talking about young kids here, these are grown men who by this time are quite aware of what they are doing.
    I agree with the above poster,all of Saskatchewan must be embarrassed to have to acknowledge Darrel Davis is from Saskatchewan. Please 3 down nation we do not need to read anymore garbage written by Davis, surely there are other sports writers out there that you could publish that doesn’t constantly try to knock down the CFL.

  10. Doug Mc Clintock // March 14, 2018 at 10:53 am //

    Drugs are involved in every sport and getting worse so we must have a foolproof system in testing to keep players of ever thinking of taking them !
    Testing must be frequent as some drugs may get out of the system before it is detected.

  11. The real story is how the CFL forces players to pay to fight a positive drug test. The players also have to pay to have an attorney to prove the test was a false positive. So in most cases players just take the penalty instead of fighting the test and paying $15,000 to fight a false positive. If you want to be a real reporter investigate that and expose the system.

  12. The Realist. // March 14, 2018 at 11:23 am //

    While everybody else is slamming you, I totally agree with you Darrell.

    • 3rd and 1 // March 14, 2018 at 11:45 am //

      How can you say that realist? I believe the realist is a radio man in disguise. Trying to side with his own article.
      The only way to Police this by any CFL team is for the team to do its own drug testing. No team can afford that and nor should they have too. The League can barely afford it. The world is moving forward in areas of policy’s for privacy. The player signs a contract with the team that states they will abide by the rules of the team and the league. If the player doesn’t abide by the contract then he is in violation of his contract. Not the team. The team has no control over that player other than his contract and when he’s playing the game with officiating.
      Darrell Davis has always taken up a ridiculous vigil anti type of stance. He seems to love to pick on his own Provinces team and will always make a mountain out of a mole hole. Darrell loves to bring light to subjects that the league already has under has control and tries to show that his moral compass points far straighter than anyone else. When In fact it’s a total cover. I agree with a comment above. Darrell Davis is always way over the top. It’s very old world mentality and has no merit in today’s world of sports. The onus is on the player who signed the contract.
      Come on Darrell Davis you have to stop with your good old boy outlook.

  13. Not surprising that two Sask players got caught for cheating, look at their head coach. He cost his team $80,000 last year for cheating. What message does that send to players. “go on cheat it doesn’t cost the team anything”,but what if it did. The cfl’s drug policy would go out the window as teams would tell their players up front “if you get caught doing drugs you’re gone! Period!We’re not paying for your stupidity!!!

    • 3rd and 1 // March 14, 2018 at 11:54 am //

      I use to think you had intelligent comments go blue. Why be ridiculous and post that dribble. You don’t mean anything in there. Your just trying to get a rise.
      Man I could slam the Bombers all over the place. However I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that it’s just a bad morning.

      • Blue rules // March 14, 2018 at 7:50 pm //

        I’m hope your not mistaking go blue for myself, go blue is new to me. I have enough trouble walking the thin line without a rough saboteur!

    • Green is the Color // March 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm //

      Of course you go there. Hating loubumber fan.

  14. I wish steroids were legal everywhere. level the playing field for some out of this world football. Lol.

  15. Just saying // March 14, 2018 at 11:38 am //

    Omg this is laughable!

  16. Headline makes it sound like you want the teams to pay the suspended players. Too many words in this article, but essentially yeah, why not? The teams pay the suspended player’s salary to a good cause (maybe a drug info program?) but let’s pile on a bit and make it count against the salary cap!
    Sure, you can say that teams can’t be held responsible for their players. But they can, and should. And maybe if the team hurts a little bit, it may encourage supplemental discipline, too.

  17. Scottsask // March 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm //

    While I don’t believe the team should be held accountable for what an athelete knowingly puts in his or her body, cheaters should be dealt with severely. If you don’t have the size strength or talent to compete on a level playing field, you simply don’t belong there. The rules should be the same for everyone. I fully support the suspensions of Campbell and Thigpen. Once again compete on a level playing field. This coming from a diehard Rider fan.

  18. Rider lover // March 14, 2018 at 12:13 pm //

    Rider players on steroids is fake news- they will try anything to make us look bad- pathetic! Other teams do steroids, not the Riders!!!

  19. Rocky Mountain High // March 14, 2018 at 12:33 pm //

    The question isn’t whether these players should be paid through their suspensions; it’s should Chris Jone be paid through 2019!!!

  20. I didn’t realize CFL teams had sooooo much profit that they could afford to pay more penalties. Teams would have to start paying to do their own testing. I can just hear at the next round of negotiations, “sorry CFLPA, we can’t give you raises because we have these extra costs incurred for having to test your members”

  21. Tiger man // March 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm //

    These are NOT children who didn’t know better.

    These are ADULTS fully aware of what they were taking and the consequences.

    If the team knew of situation and turned a blind eye…then yes they should share in the punishment.

    If not, then what you are requiring of management is ridiculous….

  22. habbernack // March 14, 2018 at 3:01 pm //

    Is it the cfl’s fault this guy took illegal drugs. How about taking respomsibility for your actions eh. GET REAL

  23. greenenvy? // March 14, 2018 at 4:21 pm //

    HELLO. Personal decisions, strengthen bones & all that good stuff? Quit reading People magazine for celebrity advice on drugs. Steroids, among other things such as the commonly known “Roid rage” which I’d rather not encounter after Kong leaves the gym & gets in his car or doesn’t like the way I look at him, has all kinds of bad effects. Liver abnormalities, tendonitis, heart disorders, psychiatric problems like depression & NO it doesn’t strengthen bones. Drugs may allow you to play through injuries but the injuries are still there. But then, I’m sure that fish you caught with 3 heads was pretty cool.

    • Green is the Color // March 14, 2018 at 5:04 pm //

      Please educate yourself before opening yap, or simply insert foot and spare us your stupidity.

      • greenenvy? // March 14, 2018 at 5:28 pm //

        Turn off General Hospital & go to a real medical Journal, just for fun. Rather convenient to ignore the fact PED’s are illegal & employers CAN & DO suspend you for using them. Why let facts get in the way?

  24. No team can control what a player does 24/7.
    This is Dumb and Dumber. Where’s Jim Carrey?

  25. OldBaldGuy // March 14, 2018 at 7:15 pm //

    Cute how Darrel can rile up a crowd on a slow March day! Two guys who got caught. Others in the league are probably doing it and weren’t caught. Back in the wild old 80’s, when there was no drug policy, take a look at some of those bulked up bodies. Salaries counting against the cap will make teams a little more diligent in trying to police drugs. Often it’s the 30+ players trying to hang on…

    • Tiger man // March 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm //

      Cute??….really it’s silly and not thought out…ruins his credibility …if he ever had any…

  26. 3rd and 1 // March 14, 2018 at 8:44 pm //

    Come on old bald guy. How can a team Police drugs? That’s just not a smart comment.
    My employer is also a 100% drug free company. I signed a contract that I wouldn’t do drugs while I work there. So what is my employer suppose to do? Have me piss in a cup every once in a while? Then pay big money to have it analyzed. Or should he be cruising my cupboards in my home?
    People wake the fruck up. I signed a contract. I am employed by that contract. Players sign contracts and in there is to abstain from roids. If the player breaks his contract to the team. Why should the team pay his salary. He broke his contract to the team. Therefore he deserves no pay during his suspension. See, Darrell Davis is too stupid to understand that when an employment contract is broken. The employee has no grounds to stand on and the employer has ZERO responsibility to the employee. Learn before you make dumb comments Davis. Listen to the young lady during week day mornings on CJME. She has more brains then all the rest of you guys combined. That’s why she’s the anchor of that station now.

  27. Melonhead // March 15, 2018 at 9:46 am //

    Lol at all the outrage from people who didn’t read the article. He’s saying the suspended player’s salary should be paid by the team to the league as a fine, not paid to the player. Sheesh.

    As for the idea itself, I like it, however if this were to count against the SMS the league would need to do much more thorough and frequent testing to ensure they’re catching as many people as possible. I don’t think it would be worth it but it’s a decent take and doesn’t deserve the hate in these comments.

  28. How do you get that any post on here indicated they didn’t know the difference between paying the player or the league. Every indication is that they all new what Davis meant, it’s the thought of the team being responsible for a players actions 24/7 that is the issue. Sheesh.

  29. 3rd and 1 // March 15, 2018 at 8:51 pm //

    Your right wideout.
    But we did touch on why should a team lose any money for that players actions away from the field of play. To say a team or anyone should pay a fine do to the actions of an employee eating, sniffing, shooting or in his rectum is frucking stupid.
    Anyone agreeing with Darrell Davis is just as stupid.

  30. The main stream Bar // March 16, 2018 at 8:27 am //

    Anyway you spin this it’s ludicrous.
    No employer should ever have to monitarily pay for an employee any amount over and above what is in his contract for services rendered. If said employe’s services can not be rendered then the employer shall have no obligation to pay said employee.
    But here comes CJME’s Darrell Davis with his erect compass of morality and he’s going to make new law by suggesting that the employer should pay a fine equal to the employees wages for services not rendered. Good one Davis… this one even tops any of your other morally driven story’s of dribble. Man you dudes at M.E. sure live a life with morals so high above the rest of society. I mean both you and Nye must be at the soup kitchen for the homeless every day around supper time. I mean how else could you feed your Mountainous Morality B.S. to yourselves.
    It’s been suggest that mind perception is the essence of moral judgment. In particular, its suggested that moral judgment is rooted in a cognitive template of two perceived minds. Darrell Davis and Jamie Nye take that and twist it until it’s unrecognizable. In order to write their story’s of stupidity. When it’s just really immorality hiding behind stories that make others think their morals are of the highest value.

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