Canadian Football League

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Toronto suspends Canadian Football League receiver

Toronto Argonauts receiver Robert Baker apologized and was suspended for one game yesterday after a sideline skirmish with teammate Noel Prefontaine during a Canadian Football League game in Calgary last week.
With the Argos up 7-0 in the second quarter of Friday's game, Baker and Prefontaine got into a heated argument as the receiver made his way off the field, with both players clutching each other. As teammates and head coach Mike Clemons tried to get between the two, Baker threw a punch that knocked Prefontaine back several steps, leaving the kicker with a bloody mouth.
"It's something I never did before, a situation I've never been in before, and I didn't handle it too good," Baker said yesterday .
Prefontaine appeared to try to get back at Baker, but teammates separated the two. "It was a pretty tense situation I think for both of us and we reacted to it the way we saw fit," Prefontaine said.

In a statement issued yesterday by the team, Baker apologized for his behaviour.
"The actions that I took were unacceptable -- they weren't good for myself, my teammates or the game," Baker said. "My irrational actions do not reflect my love and my passion for the game.
"I plan to have a long career in the CFL and situations like this will never arise again. I apologize to the fans because this is not football. People come out to watch a football game, not a boxing match.
"I want to put on a show for the fans, but not in that manner, on the field and in the game."
Both players refused to talk to the media after the game, which ended in a 22-16 Toronto victory.
In addition to serving his one-game suspension Saturday when the Argos play host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Clemons said Baker will make an apology by phone to Calgary Stampeders president Ted Hellard, volunteer with minor football in Toronto and speak to his teammates about the incident.
Baker wouldn't say what sparked the confrontation, but Clemons told a Toronto radio station that the incident stemmed from Baker believing he was spit on by the Stampeders lineman Rahim Abdullah.
"I feel that Robert felt something happened," Clemons said. "Whether it was Abdullah or someone else, I believe he felt he was spit on. Whether it took place or not, I don't think there was any doubt whether he felt he was spit on."
Abdullah says he did not spit on Baker, and Clemons said the matter wouldn't be pursued.
"We need to manage our own house," Clemons said. "You get distracted trying to worry about everybody else. We need to manage ourselves, and we need to manage ourselves better."


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