Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson doesn’t anticipate star receiver Duke Williams will be suspended for throwing a helmet at Toronto Argonauts’ defensive back Shaq Richardson.
“I think they’ll give him a pretty heavy fine and I think both players will get a pretty hefty fine, but I’m not anticipating a suspension,” Dickenson told CKRM in Regina. “We will discipline Duke as well in-house because that’s not acceptable as far as we’re concerned — any sort of pre-game antics or pre-game fighting or anything like that.”
The incident occurred while the Riders and Argos were warming up ahead of Saturday’s game in Wolfville, N.S. TSN’s cameras caught the end of the altercation between the two players that culminated in Williams throwing a helmet at Richardson while others tried to separate them. Richardson was able to deflect the helmet, though it came close to striking Argos’ head coach Ryan Dinwiddie.
A video clip of the incident was posted to Twitter by Ben Grant and has since garnered close to 135,000 views.
Riders’ Duke Williams appears to throw helmet at Argos’ Shaquille Richardson during warmups for 2022 Touchdown Atlantic gamehttps://t.co/oqALUaywBl#Riders #Argos #TDAtlantic #CFL pic.twitter.com/tKx3Z0LDnM
— 3DownNation (@3DownNation) July 16, 2022
Dickenson indicated that he’s spoken to a number of individuals about how the incident started and believes Richardson was the instigator.
“(I) did a lot of work these last two days talking to all parties involved, talking to coaches that saw it. I even contacted a number of Toronto coaches and players. I can tell you that their guy came across the 55 (yard line) and initiated the conflict, there’s no question about it. You can see it as clear as day. Shaq Richardson has had a beef with Duke and he made it known, he came across the 55 and got face-to-face with Duke,” said Dickenson.
TSN’s Matthew Scianitti reported during the game that the “league felt [the altercation] broke up quick and didn’t warrant ejection” though it’s “fair to expect supplementary discipline (is) coming for Duke Williams.” Dickenson expects the same, indicating that Williams has already shared his side of the story with the league.
“The league will come to the bottom of it. But we feel like as a team we’ve done a lot of work to investigate what happened. I talked to Coach Dinwiddie, I talked to Henoc Muamba for Toronto, I talked to a number of our players and coaches who were nearby. It’s pretty consistent with what Duke told me. Duke’s presented his case to the CFL and I’m sure Mr. Richardson will do the same and the CFL will come up with a decision.”
A #CFL spokesperson tells me the league is still performing an investigation regarding this incident. They would like to resolve it quickly, though "completing in-depth reviews/investigations cannot be rushed." https://t.co/j6LrDzZb2K
— John Hodge (@JohnDHodge) July 19, 2022
Dinwiddie accused Williams of spitting on Richardson twice during the altercation, which isn’t the first time the receiver has been the subject of such allegations. Calgary Stampeders’ defensive end Shawn Lemon claimed Williams spat on him in last year’s West Semi-Final, though Williams denied the allegations at the time.
Williams has yet to speak publicly regarding the incident but denied spitting on Richardson in conversation with his head coach.
“We’ve had nobody say that they even saw it, so Duke says he didn’t spit. He says he would never do that, he says that’s not part of his game,” said Dickenson. “(Spitting is) not something that’s OK with us and that’s not something that’s acceptable.”
The Riders are scheduled to host the Argos on Saturday for the second half of a home-and-home. Dickenson indicated that the odds of Cody Fajardo playing are “50/50” due to a lingering injury to his left knee.