Tampering charge costs Argonauts $5,000
CFL club didn't follow protocol in dealings with Stampeders defensive coach Chris Jones
The CFL has fined the Toronto Argonauts $5,000 for tampering.
League officials say the Argos didn't follow protocol in their dealings with Calgary Stampeders assistant coach Chris Jones.
The Stamps complained this week that Jones was leaving his position as defensive co-ordinator with Calgary for the same position in Toronto — and that Toronto had not approached them for permission to speak to him.
In Toronto, Jones has been reunited with Scott Milanovich, introduced Thursday as head coach by the Argos.
The exact nature of the illegal contact with Jones was not detailed and the Argos denied speaking directly to Jones. But what if Milanovich, in between Montreal and Toronto jobs, contacted Jones?
"The Toronto Argonauts recognize that casual conversations between various individuals frequently take place in professional sports that may unintentionally violate the spirit of a league's by-laws but are often not subject to fines," the Argos said in a statement Friday.
"The Toronto Argonauts will continue to do business with integrity and while we regret this inadvertent error, we will continue to take actions to field a contending football team in 2012."
According to CFL tampering rules, a club member is prohibited from contacting or negotiating with a non-playing member of another club.
On Thursday, Argos GM Jim Barker denied the Argos pursued Jones.
"We never asked for permission to speak to Chris Jones because Chris Jones was not available," Barker said. "That's the facts. We did not go after Chris Jones or pursue Chris Jones. As far as I understand, he went in to talk to coach (John) Hufnagel and ask if he could come with his longtime friend to Toronto.
"I believe that's how it happened. From there it was out in the media. Chris Jones was never even brought up in discussions that we had about staffing. That's what happened."
Jones has connections with both Barker and Milanovich: he joined the Stamps in 2008 when he was hired away from Montreal by Barker, then the Calgary GM. He was also roommates with Milanovich many years ago.