Randy Ambrosie believes Ticats’ Simoni Lawrence should have ‘fair and just hearing’

Photo courtesy: Drew Edwards

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has changed his tune regarding Simoni Lawrence appealing his two-game suspension.

After Ambrosie handed down the discipline for Lawrence delivering a head shot to Riders quarterback Zach Collaros, the Ticats linebacker opted to file a grievance case with the hearing taking place July 9, nearly a month following the incident on June 13.

“The fact is it’s a legal process and it takes time for both sides to get organized. We want to do it right. It is what we collectively bargained, the process is actually being executed as we prescribe it in the CBA. And we’ll get to it. In the end, we want to do it right, we want to have a fair and just hearing and then have the arbitrator decide what the outcome should be,” Ambrosie said on TSN.

That’s a change in tune from the commish who initially responded to the appeal by Lawrence by stating he was “deeply disappointed that the CFLPA decided to contest the league’s attempt to punish and deter a dangerous play.” Union executive director Brian Ramsay shot back: “the commissioner’s public attack on the process and the rights allotted to all CFL players, as mutually agreed to in the collective agreement, is both disappointing and unhelpful.”

“We’ve obviously had a moment or two, but for me I woke up the next day and reminded myself that the future that we want to build is going to be done together,” Ambrosie said.

“The future is going to be working with the players, the future is going to be getting the players to partner on making the game safer. You have to at some point take a deep breath and remind yourself what’s important, and for us working with the players to build this great game of ours is the most important thing.”

CFL on TSN panel host Rod Smith asked Ambrosie if he feels the defenders are getting the message about how much more serious the league wants to be about protecting quarterbacks in vulnerable situations.

“I think they are. I think the game is safer now than its ever been, but it can be safer yet and so much of that responsibility rests with the players to make good decisions, to remind each other they have to look after each other,” Ambrosie said.

“So I think it’s getting better, we have a little more work to do, but I feel good that we’re on the right path.”