Ultimately, the decision to appeal the suspension handed down to Will Hill lies with the man himself.
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie levied a one-game suspension for Hill grabbing an official by the jersey while the Ticats played in Saskatchewan on Saturday.
If he wants to challenge the ruling the Canadian Football League Players’ Association has to back him, just like any other union supporting an employee or worker.
From the current collective bargaining agreement:
In the event that disciplinary action is taken as against a player by the commissioner or the chairman of the CFL in accordance with the terms of the CFL standard player contract and/or the rules and regulations, and in the event that the player disputes the reason for disciplinary action or the severity of the disciplinary action, the player may submit such a dispute to arbitration in accordance with the arbitration system contained in this agreement.
It clearly states the decision rests in the players’ hands to dispute the discipline. Potentially losing a game check could be one main reason why Hill would want to appeal. But there are other factors as well. The CFL has a new commissioner and the union might look to send a message: it’s an opportunity to show punishment won’t be automatically accepted, regardless of merit. From a pure optics standpoint, that makes sense for the CFLPA.
There is an argument for Hill to make: there was no malicious intent to harm the official. Touching an official in any way deserves punishment, but the CFLPA could argue that Kent Austin’s contact with a referee in Saskatchewan last year was worse because it happened in a moment of anger. He was fined $10,000 and banished to the (penalty) box for one game where he still called plays and was involved in the game.
Hill has a case to be made, which could save him money and the CFLPA could make a statement to the new league boss: there’s more at play than just a simple suspension.