Garrett Marino is back on the field with the Saskatchewan Roughriders after serving a four-game suspension from the CFL for his in-game behaviour during the team’s Week 5 game against the Ottawa Redblacks.
“I do regret it, I wish it could have went differently,” said Marino. “I feel horrible that Jeremiah [Masoli] got hurt and I just want to move on.”
The six-foot-two, 290-pound defensive lineman was given three separate suspensions, including a two-game suspension for a low hit on Masoli, a one-game suspension for a verbal comment about Masoli’s heritage, and a one-game suspension for an illegal tackle on Ottawa offensive lineman Dino Boyd in a previous play in the game.
The 27-year-old was ejected from the game following the hit on Masoli. The Redblacks’ QB was carried off the field and did not return for the remainder of the game while Marino left the field pounding his chest and blowing kisses to the crowd. It was later reported Masoli had a bone-based injury in his leg.
“At the time, it was just the heat of the moment,” said Marino. “I wasn’t really thinking about nothing else.”
Masoli underwent surgery for the injury in the middle of July and could return to the field in ten to twelve weeks, according to the Redblacks. Marino was asked if he has apologized to Masoli.
“I’m not gonna go into specifics. If I see him, I would love to,” responded Marino.
The second-year Rider said he needs to “stop celebrating,” but he “didn’t even know he [Masoli] was hurt.” When asked about the verbal comment about Masoli’s heritage Marino said “he’s not gonna go into specifics.”
Masoli has been active on Twitter about Marino “never ever reaching out in any way” since the game, calling Marino a “coward” in a tweet on August 7. Marino was also asked if there is anything he wants to say to Masoli.
“Obviously I want to apologize,” said Marino. “I feel bad for what happened, but it is what it is.”
Marino said he went back to California during his suspension to visit his family and “reset,” saying he’s “coming back the same Garrett Marino, just smarter.”
“It wasn’t cool,” said Marino. “I feel bad. I let Rider Nation down, my teammates down not being out there with the team, so it was kind of depressing.”
Head coach Craig Dickenson said Marino will be “put to the test” because he will get attention from other players with his return. Dickenson believes he will be able to “manage himself,” however. In addition to the league’s discipline, Dickenson said there was “some internal discipline” given by the team.
“We were gonna bench him for a couple games, possibly even suspended, but the league went so strong on him we felt like it was overkill at that point,” said Dickenson. “We did have some internal discussions and there was some internal discipline, but it will stay in-house and it will stay between us.”
This is the first time Marino has spoken with the media about the game on July 8. The Riders issued a written apology online from Marino on July 13.