Calgary Stampeders’ defensive lineman Shawn Lemon regrets letting his temper get the best of him in the West Semi-Final, but clarified why he felt so upset prior to halftime of Sunday’s game.
“I let my emotions get the better of me and I was wrong for that. As a veteran, I gotta keep my cool but I just felt very disgusted and disrespected in a COVID time like this when someone spits on you and backs out like everything’s OK,” said Lemon via videoconference.
“It was a knee-jerk reaction from me. I just should have made a smarter decision. It’s always been a priority of mine to put my team first in situations like that and I was definitely wrong for my actions.”
Lemon was ejected from Sunday’s game after delivering a two-handed punch to the face of Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receiver Duke Williams. When asked for clarification, Lemon confirmed that the player he is accusing on spitting on him is Williams.
The 25-yard penalty proved costly as it allowed Saskatchewan to start the second half with a kickoff from Calgary’s 50-yard line. The Riders chose to perform a short kick, which was recovered by defensive end A.C. Leonard for a first down.
Saskatchewan drove 39 yards in just three plays, converting on a six-yard touchdown pass from Cody Fajardo to Kian Schaffer-Baker to take a 17-8 lead early in the third quarter. They would go on to win the game 33-30 in double overtime.
A CFL spokesperson indicated that the league is currently in the process of investigating Lemon’s claim.
The Stampeders were 2-5 at the midway point of the 2021 regular season but finished the year in third place in the West Division with an 8-6 record. Lemon joined the team after training camp and remains proud of how they were able to rally following a slow start.
“This was a very special group and I feel like we came together in a lot of adverse situations this season. That shows a testament to the coaches we have, the staff, and the players in the locker room,” said Lemon. “We came together and I feel like I wouldn’t trade anything for the world.”
The ten-year CFL veteran had another productive season, recording 26 tackles, eight sacks, and two forced fumbles in eleven games. He has no plans to retire and indicated that he would love to remain with the Stampeders in 2022.
“I’m only 33 years old. I love this game of football and as you can see, the production hasn’t dropped off in no form or way. I would love to be back here in Calgary next year. We’ll see what happens, but most definitely I have a lot more football left in me,” said Lemon.