Nate Behar has a reputation as one of the most intelligent and well-spoken players in the CFL but on Friday night in Regina, he delivered a monologue the likes of which the league hasn’t seen in years.
Speaking to AJ Jakubec on the Redblacks’ post-game show following his team’s 28-13 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a furious Behar let rip on Riders’ defensive tackle Garrett Marino for his late hit which injured Ottawa quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, leaving nothing unsaid.
“I just said some words to our good friend, [Ottawa Sun reporter Tim Baines], and the camera that’s probably gonna give me a fine over at TSN, but anybody that supports that guy, anybody that cheers for him as he runs off the field, anybody that’s supporting him in his locker room, anybody that’s trying to get the people to say that he somehow did anything right… After the stuff he was saying in the piles, the horrible nonsense that if you put out anywhere people would look at you like you don’t belong on this side of the border, and then to do that…,” the receiver ranted before reaching his point.
“I mean, if you support him, I want to know why. I want you to look at yourself in the mirror because that dude deserves zero respect. I don’t care if we have to play him again. I don’t care if he comes right for my head. Or my shins, I guess that’s his thing. He deserves no respect. I’ve got nothing for him.”
In a separate interview with TSN, Behar alleged that Marino’s comments during the game were racist in nature.
Marino’s hit on Masoli came with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when he disengaged from right tackle Dino Boyd and lunged at the quarterback’s knees. The contact was both low and late, drawing an ejection for the defender and leaving his victim lying in pain on the field. Masoli later had to be carried off by teammates while Marino was seen cheering on the Mosaic Stadium crowd as he was escorted to the locker room.
Behar, who caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in the loss, gave full credit to the Riders for their victory but insisted that Marino’s play was unacceptable and indicative of a larger pattern of behaviour.
“Don’t get it twisted, they beat us. That’s not the play that won the game or anything like that. They beat us fair and square but that guy, he started at 7:30 yesterday at The Keg, trying to talk mess to us like it was Friday night lights in Texas or something. As if anybody cares enough to be yipping and yapping at 7:30 at dinner the day before a game,” Behar alleged.
“He brought that exact same energy out on the field and he’s got people supporting him, trying to say that he’s not a dirty guy. The league better do something. That was unbelievable and there goes one of, not just an incredible talent, an incredible quarterback, but one of the best men in this league who’s gonna be out now for Lord knows how long.”
Marino is certain to receive supplemental discipline from the CFL in the form of a suspension, but some are calling for even harsher punishments. Asked if he believes Marino should be banned from the league, Behar was brutally frank.
“I don’t want him kicked out of the league because we have to play him again this year and I want to make sure that every single person, all five o-linemen, get a chance to legally show him how you hit people in between the whistles. They can kick him out after that if they want, but we want a chance to let him know what that means to us,” he warned.
“We’re fired up and he ignited it. I know all their guys on defence are gonna hoop, holler and call, ‘Oh, No. 80, la dee da dee da.’ I literally don’t care. I’ll come in and play some right guard if I get to put my hands on him. I don’t care if he rolls me over either, but I want every single person on our team to get a chance to put their hands on him, put a helmet on him, show him what clean, hard football looks like.”
Unfortunately for Behar, the Redblacks are not scheduled to meet the Roughriders again during the 2022 regular season. If Ottawa wishes to take revenge on Marino, they will need to earn a playoff matchup.