The CFL has fined Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle Bryant Turner in connection with a tweet he sent out Sunday evening regarding openly gay football player Michael Sam.
The league announced this afternoon that they have levied undisclosed fines against Turner and former Montreal Alouettes receiver Arland Bruce for comments they tweeted from their personal Twitter accounts this week about Sam, a U.S. college football player who publicly announced Sunday that he is intending next season to become the first openly gay player to play in the NFL.
"The comments made by these players are extremely disappointing and do not represent the CFL’s views or the views of the vast majority of our players," said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon in a statement issued by the league. "The CFL is supportive of openly gay athletes in professional sports and we commend the courage shown by Michael Sam. During the off-season, we have been working with an organization that specializes in this subject and look forward to announcing a formal partnership with them in the near future."
The Bombers also issued a statement today regarding Turner through their spokesman Darren Cameron.
The statement reads: "It is unfortunate that Bryant made this comment through social media. Any athlete with the ability and determination has the right to succeed in their sport. Both our President/CEO and General Manager have spoken with Bryant regarding this, and those conversations will remain internal."
Just hours after Sam made his announcement on Sunday, Turner tweeted the following from his personal Twitter account:
"@Blitz_Turner: Michael Sam locker room gonna come with complimentary robes."
Turner quickly deleted the tweet.
Bruce, meanwhile, urged Sam, among other things, to "submit fully to God."
Meanwhile, TSN is reporting the Bombers have signed non-imports WR Rory Kohlert and special teams player Graig Newman today as free agency begins in the CFL.
Kohlert played for the Bombers last season and was expected to be part of the team’s plans to field more Canadian receivers in 2014, but he got claimed by the Ottawa RedBlacks in the expansion draft in December.
Kohlert never did sign with Ottawa, however, and simply re-signed with Winnipeg today when he became a free agent at 11 a.m. CT.
Meanwhile, Newman comes to the Bombers as a free agent from the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he had six defensive tackles, a sack and 12 special teams tackles in 2013. Newman has also played safety.
A couple of the big fish the Bombers were hoping to land today, however, have signed elsewhere. Montreal offensive tackle Josh Bourke re-signed with the Alouettes this morning just as free agency opened, while Montreal LB Shea Emry has signed with the Toronto Argonauts, according to multiple reports.
It’s also appearing like another top free agent the Bombers were coveting -- non-import Saskatchewan LB Craig Butler -- is also bound for somewhere else. TSN’s Duane Forde tweeted early this afternoon that Butler is now considering offers from just two teams -- Hamilton and BC.
Finally, Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Kevin Glenn raised some eyebrows today with a tweet from his personal Twitter account that read in part: "I’m trying to get traded they said it will be either Winn Sask or BC they won’t trade me to east."
Glenn also tweeted some disparaging comments about the Ottawa organization at about the same time. He later popped back up on Twitter to say his account had been "hacked" and disavowing any knowledge of the earlier tweets.
Glenn was expected to be the starter in Ottawa next season until the Redblacks signed Henry Burris last week.
The suggestion he might be bound for Winnipeg will be interesting -- and a bit curious -- to Bombers fans. Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea last week unequivocally anointed newly signed QB Drew Willy as the team’s starter in 2014. But at the same news conference, Bombers GM Kyle Walters did appear to leave the door open to bringing in another quarterback if it upgrades the team’s talent at the position.