Tiger-Cats' Kent Austin barred from sideline for slapping official
Coach also fined $10K by CFL but allowed in spotter's booth this Saturday
Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin has been suspended for one game and fined $10,000 for making contact with an official during a game last week.
The Canadian Football League announced the sanctions in a release Wednesday.
Austin, who also serves as the Ticats' vice-president of football operations, will be barred from the sideline for Hamilton's game against visiting Calgary on Saturday. He will be allowed in the spotter's booth.
This marks the first time in CFL history that a coach has been prevented from being with his team on the sideline for a game. And the fine is also believed to be the largest slapped against a coach in league history.
"A penalty of this magnitude levied against a coach for an interaction with an official is unprecedented in our league," CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said in a statement, adding the league needs to develop "a clear policy that makes crystal clear that there will be zero tolerance of physical contact with officials, whatever its nature, and immediate and serious penalties should such contact occur.
"That work is now underway."
Respect for officials is a basic tenet of sport. ... And their security is paramount.- CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge on suspending, fining Ticats coach Kent Austin for slapping official on hand
The incident occurred during Hamilton's 20-18 loss to Saskatchewan on Sunday in Regina. The Ticats were trailing 17-11 in the fourth quarter when they were called for illegal procedure. A perplexed Austin walked towards official Tom Cesari on the sidelines and swung his hand in frustration, slapping Cesari's hand in the process.
That prompted a second flag, a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty. Austin claimed the contact was accidental, and said Tuesday that he apologized to Cesari and didn't expect to be suspended.
"Respect for officials is a basic tenet of sport. Their impartial participation makes fair competition possible," said Orridge. "And their security is paramount. That is why it is absolutely unacceptable for a coach to confront an official and make contact with him, even if that contact was inadvertent and accidental."
Last year, Austin was fined $5,000 by the CFL for bumping into Toronto receiver Dave Stala -- a former Tiger-Cat -- during a game.
Earlier this season, the league suspended Montreal receiver Duron Carter for one game after he bumped Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell during a game. Carter appealed the ban, which was later upheld by an arbitrator.