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Five Argos Players In Jeopardy Of Missing The East Final Due To COVID Violations

The CFL released a statement today that clarifies Argos QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson being sent home from practice due to a violation of COVID protocols. However, The league also revealed that four additional Argos players had met the same fate as Thompson. LB Dexter McCoil, DB Jeff Richards, DE Charleston Hughes, and WR Llevi Noel attended last night’s Toronto Raptors game.

All five Argos players are now subject to the same quarantine and testing requirements as McLeod Bethel-Thompson. The five Argonauts are all in the same boat, and they are precluded from being at practice and will have to go through extensive testing and provide negative tests to be cleared in time to play Sunday’s Eastern Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

A horrible turn of events for Toronto, considering the timing. Two days before their biggest game in years with a Grey Cup berth at stake.

In defense of these players, it appears that they were permitted to attend the Raptors game based on reports close to the situation. So while this does hurt their team from a distraction and preparation standpoint, it seems that Argonauts’ ownership and management deserve significant scrutiny for the players’ infraction.

Considering the circumstances, the CFL’s response is a fair one. You can critique their method or practices, but this is the best they can do considering that protocols were violated based on their rules.

The likelihood is that Toronto will have these key players ready for Sunday. Barring a positive test. But there’s no doubt that this whole situation is an ugly one.

CFL Official Decision/Statement

TORONTO — Following Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s presence at last night’s Toronto Raptors game, the CFL consulted its Medical Committee, which has advised the league throughout the season on its COVID-19 protocols, and its responses to violations of them.

The league has now decided upon the following regarding Bethel-Thompson.

  • His appearance constituted a clear violation of the league’s protocols, which are much stricter than those facing the general public, and which prohibit players from attending large sporting events.
  • Bethel-Thompson was sent home this morning from the Argos facility.
  • He must Quarantine at home for two days and two nights.
    • He cannot attend practices or meetings in person today, nor tomorrow (December 3 and 4).
    • He can connect with the team electronically, attend virtual meetings and train individually, by himself and NOT at the team facility, today and tomorrow (December 3 and 4).
  • In addition to the PCR test completed today, he must undergo a PCR test tomorrow (Saturday, December 4) a Rapid Antigen Test on the day following (Sunday, December 5)
  • If all tests are returned negative and proof of the negative tests is provided to the League Office, he will then be able to join the team and play on Sunday, December 5.

The Medical Committee based its advice on current conditions, including the current vaccination rate in the CFL Community, which has grown considerably since the summer.

The CFL has also been informed that four additional Argo players – Dexter McCoil, Charleston Hughes, Llevi Noel, and Jeff Richards – attended the basketball game.

They are now subject to the same quarantine and testing requirements as Bethel-Thompson.

The CFL does not disclose supplemental discipline tied to its COVID-19 protocols.

Strict protocols have allowed the CFL to have a positive COVID-19 test rate of less than one-tenth of one percent. Ninety-five percent of all CFL players are fully vaccinated. The league experienced one outbreak this year, which forced the rescheduling of one game. It will continue to act on behalf of the health and safety of players, coaches, and staff and in the best interests of the CFL and its clubs.

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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