Toronto Argos’ QB Chad Kelly denies harassment allegations, seeks dismissal

Photo: Reuben Polansky/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Toronto Argonauts’ quarterback Chad Kelly has issued his first public statement since harassment allegations were levelled against him in a lawsuit.

The 29-year-old denied the plaintiff’s accusations in a post on his personal social media feed. He deleted the post later the same day.

“I am shocked by the allegations which have been made against me. I absolutely deny these events and intend to vigorously defend myself and will be seeking the dismissal of the action.”

According to a report from TSN’s Rick Westhead, a former strength and conditioning coach is suing the Argos for alleged wrongful dismissal and Kelly for alleged harassment during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

The plaintiff is seeking $295,603 from the Argonauts and $50,000 from Kelly. She claims the Argos breached the CFL’s violence against women policy by not submitting a critical incident report to the league’s head office.

The Canadian Football League has hired an independent investigator to probe the facts of the case and deliver a full report before any potential league discipline is considered. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie told reporters in Vancouver that the investigator has been given clear instructions not to limit the scope of their inquiry and provided no timeline for a resolution.

According to Ambrosie, Kelly was informed on February 25 that an investigation was being launched and was provided with an official written notification the next day. The CFL issued the following statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“The CFL is committed to creating healthy and positive working and playing environments for all those associated with the league and its member clubs.

​We take the allegations against the Toronto Argonauts and Mr. Kelly very seriously and we have opened an investigation in accordance with the league’s Gender-based Violence Policy.

​Out of respect for this process and all the parties involved, we will not be able to provide further comment until our investigation has been completed.”

The allegations against the Argos and Kelly have not been proven in court. The team issued the following statement to 3DownNation on February 22 after the report was made public.

“The club is aware of a legal claim made by a former employee against the team and Mr. Kelly. The organization will not comment on private personnel matters or ongoing litigation but is steadfast in its commitment to providing a safe and inclusive work environment.”

Kelly signed with the Argonauts ahead of the 2022 season and came off the bench to lead the Double Blue to victory in the 109th Grey Cup. After leading Toronto to a franchise record 16 regular-season wins in 2023, including a 15-1 mark as a starter, he was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player this past November.

As the starting QB last year, Kelly completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 4,123 yards with 23 touchdowns versus 12 interceptions. He carried the ball 41 times for 248 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Buffalo, N.Y. native signed a three-year contract extension with the Argonauts last August, which was restructured for him to earn $585,000 in hard money, including $100,000 in marketing cash, for the 2024 season.

The six-foot-two, 216-pound QB was selected in the seventh round, 253rd overall during the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent parts of four seasons south of the border with the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, earning over $1.14 million USD while in the NFL.