The rough year for the Roughriders continues as the team has suspended American linebacker Gary Johnson Jr. one game for violating their code of conduct policy following an altercation that occurred last Friday night.
Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson addressed the incident and subsequent discipline.
“We put Gary Johnson on the suspended list. He came in first thing Saturday morning, owned up to being involved in an altercation, took full responsibility and we ended up suspending him because he violated our conduct code,” Dickenson said.
The six-foot, 230-pound native of Douglas, Alabama has played in two games for the Riders this season, making his 2022 debut two weeks ago in Saskatchewan’s 34-23 win over the Edmonton Elks. The University of Texas product has spent three years with the green and white, playing 10 games while amassing nine defensive tackles, 14 special teams tackles, and one sack.
Dickenson “didn’t want to go into specifics about it” but felt that what Johnson admitted to doing was enough to warrant the team-imposed ban.
“We feel strongly that when you are out on the town you represent the club and you are held to a higher standard,” Dickenson said.
Johnson’s suspension is just the latest controversy to engulf the Riders this season. Defensive lineman Garrett Marino received a four-game suspension for a low hit and racially insensitive comments directed at Ottawa Redblacks’ quarterback Jeremiah Masoli back in Week 5. Marino returned from his suspension to play in last week’s game against the B.C. Lions.
Receiver Duke Williams served a one-game suspension following his antics during the pre-game of July’s Touchdown Atlantic game against the Toronto Argonauts. Williams threw a helmet at Argos’ defensive back Shaq Richardson while the Argos also accused the 2018 league all-star of spitting on Richardson twice, which the team and player both denied.
“It’s life,” Dickenson said when asked about this being the latest in a long line of incidents involving Riders’ players in 2022. “We certainly understand that mistakes are made and Gary, to his credit, owned up to one.”
Saskatchewan has displayed a lack of discipline on the field this season, leading the CFL in penalties (103) and sit second in total penalty yardage (914) behind only the Montreal Alouettes.
Dickenson, however, believes the Johnson incident is a one-off.
“He feels bad about putting the club in a bad light, he’s very remorseful and I don’t think it will happen again,” Dickenson stated. “He’s going to pay the price for this one and hopefully he will learn his lesson.”