Former Hamilton Ticat star Jeremiah Masoli issued a statement Wednesday commenting on the four-game suspension handed Saskatchewan defender Garrett Marino for a foul on Masoli. During Friday’s game, won 28-13 by the Riders, Marino delivered a low hit on Masoli in the fourth quarter and then flexed his muscles to the home crowd. Masoli, now in his first season with the Redblacks, needed to be carted off the field and is expected to miss 10-12 weeks.
Wrote Masoli, “The worst of it is the vile and disrespectable type of behaviour and racial insults that were made toward me more than once,” Masoli, who is of Samoan descent, said on Tuesday. “In the CFL we say our diversity is our strength, so there should be no place for the racial hate.
“It’s sad that the hate, racist attitudes and racial insults are going to be punished with a slap on the wrist. One game for racist insults is simply not enough in my opinion and hopefully we can use this to promote growth and change for the better. We need to protect the integrity of the game.”
For his part, Marino issued an apology that read:
“I want to apologize for my actions that day, as I understand that they have no place in the game of football,” I also apologize to Jeremiah Masoli of the Ottawa Redblacks, as I did not intend to injure him. I have tried over the past few days to connect with him directly and will continue to do so. Regarding the comments I made during the game, I regret that I said them, as I now understand their consequences. This was not my intent when speaking on the field, nor is It ever my intent in my day-to-day life. I know I play the game with an edge, and during the game I made an insensitive and culturally stereotypical remark. I now understand this was hurtful to my peers and I hope I can be forgiven for that misunderstanding.”
Masoli disputed Marino’s contention that he had unsuccessfully reached out to Masoli.