The Saskatchewan Roughriders have released Justin Cox after he was charged with assault causing bodily harm stemming from an alleged incident of domestic violence.
According to Regina police, officers were dispatched last Sunday after receiving a complaint and found a 23-year-old woman with “injuries consistent with a physical assault.” After two days of investigation and after making a “number of attempts to contact and locate the suspect,” police say the 24-year-old Cox was taken into custody without incident.
Police says the investigation is continuing.
This is the third time Cox has been charged with domestic violence. While a senior at Mississippi State, Cox was arrested in January 2014 after an incident involving his then-girlfriend and charged with burglary and aggravated domestic violence. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing and was fined $600. The domestic violence charge was dismissed at the victim’s request.
Then in July 2015, while a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, he was charged with burglary, aggravated domestic assault and trespassing in Mississippi. The team released him the following day.
The Riders signed Cox in May of 2016 and he played in 15 games last season season, making 42 tackles and registering four interceptions while being named the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie. In December, the club signed Cox to a two-year contract extension.
Saskatchewan announced the released Cox on Wednesday, shortly after news of his arrest became public, and included the following statement:
In keeping with the provisions of the Canadian Football League’s Policy on Violence Against Women, appropriate outreaches are being made to local police, support and counselling organizations. The league policy expressly states that “the CFL condemns violence against women in all its forms.”
Cox apologized for his “actions and decisions” via Twiiter.
In statement, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said he has informed teams that he will refuse to register the contract if another club tries to sign Cox to a contract.
Riders general manager and head coach Chris Jones was asked about Cox’s background last July when reports surfaced that the team was interested in former NFL linebacker Greg Hardy, another player with a history of domestic abuse.
“Absolutely we look at it,” Jones told the CBC. “I have known some people who have known Justin Cox since high school and had a lot of thorough investigation done on his background.
“Quite honestly, you wouldn’t have a league if all the guys who had some type of past transgression in high school or junior college or college [weren’t allowed to play],” he said. “You wouldn’t have a CFL.”
The full police report: