It is a “matter of principle” for the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Chris Jones said that, with two little girls at home, he just couldn’t bring himself to have Justin Cox back in the green and white.
The Riders released Cox after he was charged in an alleged domestic dispute in April. At the time, the CFL also said he would no longer be allowed to play in the league.
On Monday, a provincial court judge in Regina found Cox not guilty and said there was no evidence to support the charge.
“Hopefully I get it back, I really want to play with the Roughriders,” Cox told reporters outside court following his acquittal. “Hopefully I can talk to the president like Coach Jones told me and hopefully I get to wear that green and white again.”
Jones shut down that idea on Tuesday, citing in part two previous arrests for domestic violence before Cox came to the CFL.
“We’re very aware of the history of him and then with the current event it just makes it where principle-wise that I could not put the club or our team in that situation,” Jones said.
The CFL is seen by some as a second chance league, and the Riders gave Cox his, however, they won’t be giving him his third.
“We’ve got to value our jobs,” Jones said. “We’ve got to know exactly how … lucky we are to do exactly what we do so when we do get the opportunity to be there we’ve got to cherish it,” Jones said.
Cox will not have the opportunity to play with any other team in the league either.
In an emailed statement from the CFL, it said it would stand by its original decision to ban Cox from playing.
“The outcome of the recent criminal trial involving the acquittal of Mr. Cox does not change the position of the League,” the statement read in part. “If a team were to attempt to sign him, the contract would not be registered by the Commissioner’s office.”
– With files from the Canadian Press