Arbitrator upholds CFL's suspension against linebacker Lawrence for hit on Collaros
Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Zach Collar is hit late by Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Simoni Lawrence after Collaros was downed by Tiger-Cats' Julian Howsare during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton on Thursday, June 13, 2019. Collaros was injured in the first quarter of their game Thursday night versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be without linebacker Simoni Lawrence for two games.
An arbitrator ruled Tuesday in favour of the CFL's original suspension, a week after Lawrence met with the arbitrator after appealing the ban the CFL levied against him last month.
The decision was somewhat surprising. The expectation was the suspension would be reduced to just one game shortly after the CFL Players' Association announced it was grieving the original ban on Lawrence's behalf.
The CFL suspended Lawrence for two games after he hit quarterback Zach Collaros in the head during Hamilton's season-opening 23-17 home win over Saskatchewan on June 13. Lawrence received a 25-yard roughing-the-passer penalty on the play.
Collaros didn't return to the contest and went on the six-game injured list shortly afterwards. A repentant Lawrence said he didn't mean to hurt his former teammate, and the CFLPA's grievance of the suspension June 19 allowed Lawrence to continue playing until the arbitrator's decision came down.
The six-foot-one, 231-pound Lawrence is in his eighth CFL season, seventh with Hamilton. He's fifth overall in tackles with a team-high 23 as well as three sacks and two interceptions in five games with the Ticats, who are atop the East Division standings with a 4-1 record.
Hamilton is currently on a bye week. As a result of the arbitrator's decision, Lawrence will miss the Ticats' home game July 26 against Winnipeg and their Aug. 1 road contest versus Saskatchewan.
Lawrence will be eligible to return to the Ticats' lineup Aug. 10 when they host the B.C. Lions at Tim Hortons Field.