It seems the illegal hit that injured star Redblacks’ quarterback Jeremiah Masoli may not have been the most heinous act perpetrated by Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defensive tackle Garrett Marino on Friday.
Ottawa receiver Nate Behar went off on Marino with his post-game comments to the team’s radio broadcaster but in a separate interview with TSN television cameras, the Canadian pass catcher went into further detail about his opponent’s behavior. That included leveling an accusation of on-field racist comments at Marino.
“Anybody that cheers for that dude, supports that dude, cheers when he runs off the field flexing and all that stuff, I hope you find a way to sleep tonight. The same dude yelling racist sh*t in the bottom of a pile. The same dude who went low on one of the best quarterbacks in this league, one of the best dudes in this league,” Behar said.
“I literally cannot believe what I witnessed. That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. You’ve got people screaming and cheering for that. I know this place has to be better. This is supposed to be the heartland of Canada. Everyone’s supposed to be hunky-dory and all smiles and all that stuff. That was ridiculous.”
Marino’s hit on Masoli came with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when he disengaged from right tackle Dino Boyd and lunged at the quarterback’s knees. The contact was both low and late, drawing an ejection for the defender and leaving his victim lying in pain on the field.
Masoli later had to be carried off by teammates while Marino was seen cheering on the Mosaic Stadium crowd as he was escorted to the locker room. The Riders would go on to win 28-13.
It was not Marino’s first altercation with the Redblacks, as Marino allegedly ran into the team during dinner at The Keg in Regina the night before and engaged in public trash talk.
Behar continued by saying that Marino’s prior language and actions made clear that a dangerous play was coming. That leaves responsibility for Masoli’s serious injury on the shoulders of the referees.
“We all know, since we were in fricking university, since we were in high school, when refs let sh*t go for God knows how long, we know what happens. It’s the most obvious thing in the world. You’ve got people f***ing punch, headbutt for quarters and quarters at a time. You know what the hell’s gonna happen,” Behar ranted.
“I know I’m gonna get finished and I literally don’t care. That dude has two kids. He has two beautiful children to support and you go through his shins and then get up flexing and calling him stuff that nobody should be calling anybody. Come on, that’s beyond any code on earth.”
Marino is almost certain to face supplemental discipline for the CFL for his hit and the punishment for allegations of racism should be even harsher in a league that used “Diversity is Strength” as a catchy slogan.
Regardless of the CFL’s response, Behar believes that all of Rider Nation — fans, players and coaches — need to re-evaluate their values if they continue to stand behind Marino.
“They support him. They know who he is. They know. Cause when he left the field there, some of them said, ‘yeah, we know who he is,’” Behar said. “We know, we know, we know and yet everybody’s still cheering.”