Reporter says Riders have 'some tolerance' for players accused of domestic abuse

The Riders are under fire because there was talk of hiring Greg Hardy, an NFL star facing allegations of domestic violence. In addition, the team has added Justin Cox to the roster. Cox also faced allegations of domestic violence.

Team questioned after pursuit of Greg Hardy and signing of Justin Cox

Riders' Head Coach Chris Jones is facing some tough questions about the team's views on domestic violence after adding Justin Cox to the roster.

Football is a game of organized violence with large, muscular men, crashing into each other. But, when it leaves the field and players are accused of domestic violence, the public can take a dim view. 

The Riders believe they can sign players that have that background.- Dave Naylor 

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are now being asked where they stand.

Sports journalist Dave Naylor thinks he knows the answer.  

"The Riders believe they can sign players that have that background and fans will tolerate it, and the evidence would seem to suggest they are right," he told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

The Riders are facing questions because there was talk of hiring Greg Hardy, an NFL star who is now having trouble landing a job in football because of allegations of domestic violence.

In addition, the team added Justin Cox to the roster in May. Cox was fired by the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs in 2015 after being arrested and charged with domestic violence.

"I've known some people that have known Justin Cox since high school and had a thorough investigation done on his background," said Rider coach and GM Chris Jones.

"I know some of his junior college coaches well and so I was fully satisfied with the things that we found. I just know that we gave it to the people that make those types of decisions and they made their decision to let him in and play."

Former NFL star Greg Hardy, a player with domestic violence allegations in his background, was in talks with the Riders about the possibility of playing in Saskatchewan. (Dave Martin/Associated Press/File)

CFL can't stop teams 

All of this is happening despite the CFL's policy on violence against women. The policy is proactive in that it works to raise awareness and to educate players. It also includes sanctions on players or employees who violate the policy.

However, Naylor says we all need to understand what's not in the policy.

"What it doesn't say is whether you can hire or employ a football player who has a background on issues of domestic violence, there is nothing saying you can't do that."

"I think that what you learn about the Riders is that they do have some tolerance for guys that have this issue in their background."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.