‘That negativity has lingered on’: Riders’ Craig Dickenson suggests Garrett Marino fiasco affecting penalty calls

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders being raked over the coals for Garrett Marino’s hit on Ottawa Redblacks’ quarterback Jeremiah Masoli isn’t news.

What is grabbing some attention is the club’s belief that the fallout has impacted the officiating in their two games since the low hit took place.

Following the Riders’ Week 7 loss to the Argos at home, head coach Craig Dickenson suggested some of the borderline calls on which he and his team might normally get the benefit of the doubt haven’t gone their way since that infamous July 8 game.

“I think the negativity of that Ottawa game has followed through our team a little bit,” said Dickenson.

“I think it’s hurt our team in a lot of ways. Even questionable calls we don’t seem to get anymore. And I think a lot of it is a self-fulfilled prophecy when you talk about a team as being possibly undisciplined a lot of times then the refs look at the team the same way.”

“I’m hoping I can reverse that dialogue on our team. It’s going to take time and I’m hoping I can change the perception of our team as undisciplined and playing a little bit over the edge to being a little more disciplined — being physical but playing to that edge and not past it.”

Dickenson stressed he’s not unhappy with the officiating from the back-to-back series with the Argonauts but thinks the negative press the Riders got from the Marino debacle is having an impact.

“Everything that’s close, we get called on it seems like and I really want our guys to feel like they’re able to play without being looked at differently than anyone else,” he said.

“That negativity has kind of lingered on and we’re going to hopefully turn the page against B.C. and try to start the season fresh again.”

The Riders had one of their least penalized games of the season in Week 7 against Toronto but borderline calls could include penalties against the other side that simply aren’t being called, too.

Now that Marino is halfway through his four-game suspension, it remains to be seen if the Riders’ concern over this issue will let up anytime soon.

Brendan McGuire has covered the CFL since 2006 in radio and print. Based in Regina, he has a front-row view of Rider Nation.