Jonathan Hefney plans to plead not guilty to marijuana possession charges after an incident in South Carolina on May 31st and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have no immediate plans to trade or release the defensive back.
Bomber GM Joe Mack addressed the media Tuesday morning on the issue of Hefney’s charge, a day after it became public through a report in The Rock Hill Herald newspaper and after having the chance to speak to his player and with the authorities in South Carolina. Hefney will not speak to the media on the subject today.
"We’re going to let due process take its course and wait and see what happens," said Mack. "According to Jonathan it’s a non-issue and we’re going to take him at his word… and, according to Jonathan, it is a misunderstanding that will be resolved. It’s my understanding (the charge) could just go away.
"Again, Jonathan says that he is completely innocent of this and we’re going to take him at his word because he is one of our teammates. That in itself, this particular incident, won’t affect his status at all. It’s going to be how he plays."
According to police reports Hefney and a passenger were pulled over in Rock Hill on May 31st at 1:20 a.m. after speeding. The officer smelled marijuana when Hefney rolled down his window and a search of his truck discovered 6.2 grams of marijuana. Hefney was issued a ticket for a first offence possession and has a court date in Rock HIll scheduled for June 19th — the day before the Bombers are to complete their 2013 preseason with a game in Guelph, Ont, against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Hefney has had some issues with the Bombers and been fined by the club in the past, including reporting late after a bye week last season and for some racey posts on his Twitter account.
"Each individual player, there’s a picture that is painted by him and that’s taken into account by the head coach, the coaching staff and myself," said Mack. "Jonathan, obviously sometimes has to be more cognizant of his actions off the field and how that can impact what he does for the team. That’s an ongoing process and I know it’s something Tim addresses with Jonathan. He acknowledged to me that he probably made a mistake not notifying me and the team beforehand. He acknowledges that and apologized for that."
Mack said the plans are for Hefney to dress for Wednesday’s preseason game against the Toronto Argonauts.