The Saskatchewan Roughriders lost their first game of the 2019 CFL season Thursday night in Hamilton. The final score of 23-17 still seems irrelevant.

There was a much bigger issue at play on the Tim Hortons Field turf and that issue was sadly brought to light, yet again, three plays into the contest.

Rider QB Zach Collaros was just finishing a slide after a seven-yard run when Hamilton Tiger-Cat linebacker Simoni Lawrence hurled himself at the prone Collaros, connecting with a vicious shoulder to head shot.

The violence and intent of the hit was a criminal act disguised as a dirty football play. If you did something similar to that on the street you’d be arrested and sent to jail.

The concussion issues Collaros has suffered from in the past are well documented. Lawrence knew that and went for the kill shot to knock Saskatchewan’s starting quarterback out of the game.

If the hit ended the playing career of Zach Collaros, so be it.

Lawrence claimed after the game the hit was not intentional, even though he has targeted other players with similar dirty hits in the past.

What a joke, maybe he thinks we are all stupid.

Towards the end of the game Lawrence did a victory dance after an interception. Hamilton had won the game, but the big loser, other than Collaros, is the CFL itself.

While CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie works on CFL 2.0, he is in danger of losing more ground with CFL 1.0, inotherwards fans in his own country.

If you are a parent watching the game in Hamilton, and you see that malicious hit, do you want to put your own children into football?

Do you want to watch the next CFL game on TV?

The last Grey Cup had disappointing TV ratings.

The CFL claims it is working towards improving player safety. If these changes had any real teeth, that hit would have resulted in an automatic ejection and multi-game suspension. The 25-yard penalty issued was totally useless.

Let's hope Zach is OK. First and foremost Zach is a human being, husband, son, friend. The Lawrence hit would have knocked any quarterback out of a game, concussion issues or not.

Lawrence cared more about 2 points than he did about another player’s life.


Don Hewitt started covering the Saskatchewan Roughriders for CKCK-TV in 1979.