Argos’ Ryan Dinwiddie accuses Duke Williams of spitting two times on Shaq Richardson, Riders deny it

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Toronto Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie was hot under the collar following his team’s 30-24 win in the 2022 Touchdown Atlantic game.

When asked what happened between Argos’ defensive back Shaquille Richardson and Riders’ receiver Duke Williams in warmups, Dinwiddie explained what he saw from his point of view.

“Shaq went to say something to him and he got spit in his face and then you see the helmet throw — throws a helmet, his own helmet, at his face. How’s that not the dirtiest play I’ve ever been around? I almost took it in the ear trying to break it up,” Dinwiddie said.

“And then he got spit on again, they spit on Shaq again, right before they kicked the field goal to take the lead. He’s got to get away from it and respond better, but you can’t spit in a man’s face. And they can deny it all they want — it happened.”

TSN cameras caught Williams picking up Richardson’s helmet and throwing it in his direction. Brandon Banks was between Williams and Richardson when the helmet throw occurred. Dinwiddie held his veteran defender back from going after Williams while Saskatchewan’s defensive line coach Ben Olson and running back Frankie Hickson rushed over to turn Williams away.

“I don’t know how you don’t get ejected for throwing a helmet at another guy’s head. I don’t want to get too much into it, but you guys all watched the game today. We’ve all seen what happened out there. I don’t want to get into all of it, you’ll hear more about it. It was a chirpy game, I thought it was a cheap game, at times,” Dinwiddie said.

Williams played the entire game, recording five receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown — a 32-yard catch-and-run major to tie the game at 21 in the fourth quarter. Later in the same frame, Williams and Richardson were engaged in another altercation. Dinwiddie alleged that Williams spat in Richardson’s face a second time, while Riders’ players claimed that the Argonauts’ halfback threw a punch at Williams.

Richardson had to be restrained by teammates and officials from charging the Saskatchewan bench and was escorted to the sideline, where he was seen spiking his helmet on the ground. He later returned to the game to haul in the game-clinching interception.

Riders’ quarterback Cody Fajardo defended his best pass catcher for throwing the helmet and the alleged spitting incidents levelled by Dinwiddie.

“I know Duke and he’s the leader on our team and to tell you if he’s gonna put himself in jeopardy to be ejected, that’s not him,” Fajardo said.

“I don’t believe he did that, but that’s just my understanding of who Duke is and who he is on the team. He’s our best player right now offensively and a guy that our offence goes through, so I can’t see him jeopardizing getting ejected before the game, because that’d be a huge loss for us.”

This is not the first spitting accusation made against Williams, Calgary Stampeders’ defensive end Shawn Lemon made a similar claim against the receiver last season. Although, Williams denied those allegations at the time.

Dinwiddie also claimed that there was a prior history of spitting between Richardson and Williams, though that could not be confirmed.

Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said he was on another part of the field during warmups with the kickers and punters. Dickenson hopes Williams did not spit on Richardson but vowed to speak with his all-star target about the accusations.

“We’ll look into it as thoroughly as we can and I will certainly sit down and visit with Duke. I don’t believe he would do that, but when somebody brings it up, I think you’ve got to look into it and you gotta investigate,” Dickenson said.

“So we’ll investigate and hopefully there’s no substance there but I will talk with Duke and look into that. That’s not something we would ever tolerate and we’ll support our player but we will also investigate it and find out exactly what happened.”