Chad Kelly denies sexual overtures towards former Argos strength and conditioning coach in statement of defence

Photo courtesy: Ted Pritchard/Rattleboxmultimedia.ca/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly, the CFL’s reigning Most Oustanding Player, has submitted his statement of defence in a lawsuit filed by the team’s former strength and conditioning coach.

In the document, procured by 3DownNation, Kelly denied making “any romantic or sexual overtures” towards the plaintiff, including workplace sexual harassment. The 30-year-old quarterback states she has “advanced these spurious claims against him purely to draw the attention of the media to what was otherwise a very routine termination situation.”

Kelly alleges the incident involving tickets to a Buffalo Bills game in the fall of 2022 occurred differently than the plaintiff detailed in her amended statement of claim.

According to Kelly, he and some teammates made arrangements to attend a Bills game when she overheard the discussion. He claims she inquired about the possibility of joining and Kelly initially agreed, though he later retracted the offer when other players told him “this was not a good idea.” He denies asking her to stay overnight at an ‘Airbnb’ and stated there was “no reason” to do so given that he has a home in Buffalo.

Kelly claimed the plaintiff said she wanted to “go out” with him if the Argos won the Grey Cup. He allegedly declined, telling her he has a girlfriend, but suggested “they could go out sometime in the future as a group.”

The six-foot-two, 216-pound QB stated he never asked her “out on a date prior to or after the Buffalo Bills game incident.” Kelly stated he made “no advances” on her continuous or otherwise and “adamantly” denies those claims. He believes there is no civil cause of action for workplace sexual harassment and violations of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Kelly denied any actions that could be found liable for interfering with her monetary gains or breach of contract and put that burden of proof on the plaintiff. He denies liability for any damages claimed by her and formally requests the dismissal of the lawsuit with costs payable to him on a full-indemnity basis.

The plaintiff initially filed her statement of claim on February 21 plus an amended version on April 2. The Argos filed an intent to defend on February 27 and Kelly did the same on March 13.

Kelly’s lawyer, Nancy M. Shapiro from Koskie Minsky LLP, noted her client “intends to fully defend the claims made against him. The litigation process is underway and we will be following the proper course.” 3DownNation asked the plaintiff’s lawyers for comment, but have yet to receive a response.

The league office hired an independent investigator to probe the allegations and will not comment or make a judgement until the investigation, which opened on February 28, has been completed.

CFL rookie minicamps start on May 8 with main training camps opening on May 12.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.