Cody Fajardo’s apology to his receivers for calling them out was inevitable.
“I spazzed out like a child on the sideline like someone took my toy away,” the Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback told reporters in response to chatter his animated post-game comments had caused.
The Week 9 loss to Calgary and frustration displayed by the Riders resident rock star drew mixed reviews from green and white fans. They ranged from happiness to see a general who refuses to accept losing, to disappointment in someone who appeared to need a scapegoat to point the finger at and mask his own short-comings.
There’s no faster way to lose the room than by accepting credit for the wins, only to assign blame to someone else to eat the losses. We’ve all worked in an office with that one boss who employs the poop-runs-downhill-style of management and we’ve all hated it.
The whole purpose of Fajardo’s post-game reaction Saturday night was to make it abundantly clear that he needed better weapons in his holster in order to do his job properly. Less than 48 hours later, the best receiver available that money could buy, former CFL all-star Duke Williams, became property of the Roughriders.
Queue the two-minute public apology after the team’s first practice to prepare for the Thanksgiving weekend rematch with the Stampeders.
“I let the frustrations of the game and the emotions of the game affect me afterwards,” Fajardo said shortly after addressing his teammates directly.
“I wasn’t raised like that. It’s been a tough weekend on me to not only lose the game but to also know that you’ve hurt some people’s feelings and I didn’t want it to come across that way. I don’t know if you guys have ever had the feeling where you say something where you’re mad or frustrated and you didn’t mean it the way you did but it comes out the way it was.”
It was damage-control for a quarterback who was starting to be questioned by some in Rider Nation who looked at the film and observed Fajardo missing a wide-open Kyran Moore on a first-half third-down gamble and failing to check down for an easy first down to an open Mitchell Picton on that fateful final pass at McMahon Stadium.
“Just trying to make things right. Talking about those receivers, they’ve done a tremendous job all year fighting. Some guys have had short weeks to get prepared,” Fajardo said.
“The biggest thing for me, personally, moving on is realizing that if I play better in that game we’re probably not in that situation. It really wasn’t on anyone but myself. I played terribly in that game in my own opinion and if I make a couple throws here or there and if I’m a little bit more accurate, we probably aren’t in that situation.”
Fajardo apologized directly to Ricardo Louis, who appeared to receive the brunt of the public-shaming after the Calgary loss. Fajardo also saw it necessary to protect his so-far-to-date unassailable public image, too.
“I have this great platform here in (Saskatchewan) and the most important thing is being a role model. When I jogged off the field, I didn’t show good sportsmanship,” Fajardo said.
He promised to shake hands, no matter the outcome, after every game for the rest of the season, including after Saturday night’s rematch at Mosaic Stadium. All is well and joyful in Riderville, again.
Fajardo had too many reasons to apologize and zero reasons not to. It doesn’t at all mean his rant or comments were wrong in any way.
But given what’s at stake, the fact Fajardo got his message out loud and clear and the Roughriders have made the necessary adjustments, it was time to shift course on messaging.
In order to keep a happy shop, an apology was imminent. The final six games of the regular season plus playoffs will tell us how well it stands up.