Garrett Marino left the Saskatchewan Roughriders with no choice but to release him

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

If former Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defensive lineman Garrett Marino was at all upset about his release from the team, then all he had to do was look into the mirror to see why it happened.

After weeks of issues, both on and off of the field, the Riders were left with no choice but to move on from the California native.

In retrospect, it’s a move that certainly could have — and probably should have — been made weeks ago. When Marino created a debacle near the end of Saskatchewan’s early July game against the Ottawa Redblacks following his vicious, low hit on quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, he should have been released that same week.

Not so much for the hit itself, but for his embarrassing display of poor sportsmanship and behaviour after being ejected from the game. Oh, and not to mention the racist remarks he made toward Masoli. The argument for his release was pretty strong.

A counter-argument at the time is that Marino deserved a chance to prove that he had learned from the incident. We all make mistakes right?

Fine.

Well, it didn’t take long after Marino’s return for him to prove that he hadn’t learned much from his record-setting four-game suspension.

Marino was again fined for an unnecessary hit on B.C. Lions’ offensive lineman Peter Godber during his first game back. He followed that up with another late and unnecessary shot on Blue Bombers’ quarterback Zach Collaros in the Labour Day Classic, which will likely draw a fine later this week.

If that wasn’t enough, MBC Radio’s Mitchell Blair reported recently that Marino was upset about being listed as a backup on the depth chart, despite the fact that he had no bonuses in his contract linked to being listed as the starter.

Then after the Riders’ loss to the Bombers, Marino sent out a tweet suggesting his behavior had been acceptable since returning from suspension since he hadn’t been flagged once. He ended up deleting the tweet and locking his account presumably due to the blowback he received for overlooking his previous fine.

All football teams can live with a few dirty plays from time to time. If I were to guess, the off-the-field circus was the last straw for Saskatchewan when it came to the decision to release Marino.

Previous arguments for Marino’s on-field play have washed away slowly over time. He’s played well but no better than anyone else in the middle of the Riders’ defensive line, most notably Anthony Lanier II and Miles Brown, who seemed to be in Winnipeg’s backfield all game on Sunday.

Some have also been concerned about Marino joining another team and playing well. If he does, so be it. Perhaps a change of scenery will get him in line and allow him to have a productive career. It wasn’t going to happen in Saskatchewan.

Marino was given multiple opportunities to prove he could be a professional and not a detriment to his team. He couldn’t do it, so the Riders had no choice but to move on.

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.