With a breaking story like the McLeod Bethel-Thompson situation, news can change very quickly.
Toronto Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie found that out Friday afternoon as the CFL released their ruling on Bethel-Thompson’s playoff eligibility during Dinwiddie’s media availability. Canadian Press reporter Dan Ralph broke the news to the coach.
“That’s the first I heard of that Dan, I appreciate the news and hopefully that’s the case. Hopefully, he gets through his protocol,” Dinwiddie responded.
“We all took our PCR test this morning as a team, I’m sure they’ll come out that he doesn’t have COVID but you never know. We’re just making sure we’re doing things the right way, understanding we made a mistake and going from there.”
Toronto’s starting quarterback was pulled from practice Friday after news broke that he had violated the CFL’s COVID protocol by attending a Toronto Raptors game on Thursday night on team orders to promote their East Final matchup with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
As per the CFL’s own original tier one personnel rules, Bethel-Thompson was supposed to quarantine for four days and require two negative tests before he is allowed to be around the team again, which would barred him from the very playoff game he was sent to promote.
However, the league ruled Friday that Bethel-Thompson needs to quarantine for just two days, complete three tests (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), and have all those tests come back negative in order to play Sunday.
With the situation still developing, there were more questions than answers for the rookie head coach and Dinwiddie still isn’t sure who set up the now-infamous interview.
“I don’t know, I was just made aware that it happened today and I was in meetings right until practice so I don’t know who orchestrated the interview and all that.”
The Argos were looking to generate buzz for their first home playoff game since their Grey Cup season of 2017. Dinwiddie confirmed that is the reason Bethel-Thompson was at the game.
“It was a brief appearance, he was just there for the first half just to do the interview. That’s what he went there for but that fell under the guidelines of league protocols.”
During 10 games in 2021, Bethel-Thompson completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,303 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
He wasn’t the only player in Double Blue at the Raptors game. Dexter McCoil, Charleston Hughes, Llevi Noel, and Jeff Richards were also in attendance and must undergo the same tests and quarantine as Bethel-Thompson to be allowed to play Sunday against Hamilton.
Dinwiddie says he was made aware of that after the Bethel-Thompson news.
“I just found that out right when we got to practice. First it was just the McLeod thing, I’m sure social media blew up and seen him doing the interview at the game, and then guys were at the game as well, so we were made that aware to the league that there was more than just Mac,” he explained.
“I didn’t know that until an hour, hour or two, after the McLeod thing came about. We’re handling that situation with all those guys right now.”
The Argonauts (that are eligible) play the Ticats in the East Final Sunday afternoon at BMO Field in Toronto with a berth in the 108th Grey Cup on the line.