After I nagged them to death, the CFL finally explained why Cioffi wasn’t fined for the Tasker hit

When the hit Ottawa DB Anthony Cioffi laid on Luke Tasker in Week 19 went without supplemental discipline it left a lot of people scratching their head, myself included.

So I decided to inundate the league and the commissioner with tweets every day asking for an answer.

I was willing to drag this on forever if need be, but a week seemed to be enough. The CFL finally reached out and arranged a conversation with the Ryan Janzen, senior director of football operations. According to Janzen, the hit Cioffi laid on Tasker wasn’t a hit to the head and did not meet the standard for a tourist hit, so therefore there was no fine.

McDonald made sure to point out that you don’t see Tasker’s head snap back, which is common when a player takes a blow to the head. I don’t disagree with this assessment, as you don’t see Tasker’s head snap back on the hit.

He also said intent is hard to judge when it was pointed out that Tasker and Cioffi had been going back and forth for a few plays prior to the hit. I also agree, and although we have seen officials judge intent in the past — I remember a game where Ejiro Kuale was playing for the Argos and was kicked out of a game for a head shot on Buck Pierce, then with the Blue Bombers — it is really difficult to get into the head of a player to know if they did this as a reaction to the play or if they intended to hurt another player.

But where I find myself disagreeing is on why the fine wasn’t levied. We’ve seen fines handed out for late hits that didn’t come to the head, and while I agree that I wouldn’t classify Cioffi’s hit as a tourist hit (unlike the one Hamilton’s Curtis Newton was rightfully fined for in Week 20), this still feels to me like a hit we should be legislating out of the game, and while penalties are great, the only way you will truly get stuff like this out completely (or as completely as you can) is to hit players in the pocketbook by fining or suspending them or ejecting them from games.

I think we can all mostly agree that regardless of what team you cheer for that hits like this are no longer acceptable in the game. But if we want this stuff gone there needs to be consequences for continuing to play contrary to the way the game is supposed to be played in 2018.

Football will always be a dangerous sport; it wasn’t designed to be safe and, no matter what changes are made, there is always going to be a high risk of injury. But we can make it as safe as possible, and getting hits like the one Cioffi laid on Tasker out of the game is a good place to start. With everything we know about brain trauma, about how some of the worst damage comes from the brain bashing against the skull after impact whether from a direct head shot or not, hits like this probably should be fineable and suspendible.

But the league made its ruling and is standing by it. It’s up to you whether you find that satisfactory or not.

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