Many CFL fans have by now heard of or seen the footage from last Friday’s game of BC Lions defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell taking the arm of Edmonton Eskimos’ offensive lineman Simeon Rottier and pulling a wrestling-type move on him, as if he were trying to snap Rottier’s arm.
Mitchell has since received a two-game suspension, which in CFL terms is pretty big.
To miss two games out of an 18-game regular season is a pretty big suspension.
It’s a moment which TSN analyst Chris Schultz called “one of the most egregious, one of the most visually conclusive, one of the most digusting moments in my history of watching the Canadian Football league,” and I am inclined to agree with him on this.
Mitchell’s actions were truly horrifying to watch live, and the slow-motion replay makes it look even worse. It’s one of those incidents which can define a career; he’ll now forever be remembered as “that guy who tried to snap that other guy’s arm back in 2012.”
Rottier returned to the sidelines just after halftime ended (the incident occurred just before the break), but did not return to game action, and apparently might not for quite some time.
It also surprised me to see that some people were defending Mitchell’s actions. Rob Murphy, retired offensive lineman, said he didn’t think Mitchell’s arm-snapping maneuvre was clean, but could see why someone would do it against Edmonton’s O-Line.
@BIGMURPH56 “watch what that OL does on a regular basis it’s an embarrassment the cant block a soul do the tackle people..”
@BIGMURPH56 “Watch the esks OL they make up for lack of talent by tackling people.. Watch the real game inside. They do equally dangerous things” Murphy didn’t exactly denounce Mitchell, surprising considering he was a former lineman who went up against Mitchell a few times last season.
Even more surprising was Doug Brown’s tweet: @DougBrown97 “A 2 game suspension for Khaliff Mitchell is 1 game too many. After all, it never would have happened if he wasn’t being held illegally.” A former defensive tackle himself, Brown of all people should be aware of the amount of holding that goes on in the trenches. As my grandfather used to say, holding is the one penalty that the referees could call on every single play.
It’s not like Mitchell’s actions were a punch to the facemask or a toss of the helmet (remember A.J. Gass a few years ago?). This was a full-out, malicious attempt to injure Rottier. Was he holding? Sure, but don’t even try and convince me that BC’s offensive line doesn’t hold.
Let’s not forget, either, that this isn’t the first time the league has had to look at something Khalif Mitchell has done. In 2010 against Winnipeg, Mitchell was ejected for punching Andre Douglas in the groin. (See the video here: http://cfl.ca/video/index?channel=1095 at the 5:55 mark.) Mitchell was not suspended, but fined and due to league regulations, fine amounts are not disclosed.
In an 18-game regular season, a 2-game suspension is fair for Mitchell. But the league should take notice, and come down even more heavy-handed should he not learn from his mistakes and learn to keep his head.
- Wray Perkin