McLeod Bethel-Thompson cleared to start East Final

Photo courtesy: Adam Krueger, Toronto Argonauts

If there was any doubt remaining, Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been cleared to start the East Final.

According to a tweet from TSN’s Matthew Scianitti: “Mcleod Bethel Thompson tested negative this morning, and was on the field at 10:35am. MBT will start the East final.”

Bethel-Thompson 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. Teammates Dexter McCoil, Charleston Hughes, Jeff Richards and Llevi Noel were also in attendance.

Players seeking to attend large scale gatherings must seek special permission from the league and may be given extra quarantine requirements under the CFL’s COVID protocol. Argos general manager Pinball Clemons took responsibility for the situation, saying he was made aware the players were attending the NBA game before hand and wrongly assumed they had received approval from the league office.

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.

During 10 games in 2021, Bethel-Thompson completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,303 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The 33-year-old journeyman took the starting QB job from Nick Arbuckle and was a major reason why the boatmen are hosting the East Final at BMO Field.

The San Francisco, California native re-signed with the double blue after a 2019 season that saw him lead the CFL in touchdown passes with 26 against 13 interceptions in 13 starts, while completing 68 percent of his passes for 4,024 yards. The six-foot-four, 220-pound QB amassed nine games with at least 300 yards passing and two with over 400 yards that year.