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CFL suspends former NFL QB for violating gender-based violence policy

On Tuesday, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced that Kelly will be suspended a minimum of nine games in the upcoming 2024 season after a third-party investigation found Kelly ‘unequivocally violated’ the league’s gender-based violence policy. The CFL opened an investigation into Kelly in March shortly after a former Argonaut coach claimed in a lawsuite they were wrongfully terminated after being harassed by Kelly.

Kelly, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player last season, will also have to undergo counseling sessions with a gender-based violence expert and confidential assessments by an independent expert before he’s reinstated.

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‘Mr. Kelly’s suspension is the direct result of his behavior,’ Ambrosie said in a statement on Tuesday. ‘The addition of mandatory counseling focuses on his need for self-reflection and understanding of his actions. He must take full advantage of this opportunity for personal betterment in order to return to the CFL.’

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According to the wrongful dismissal lawsuit, obtained by The Canadian Press, a female strength-and-conditioning coach accused Kelly of directing ‘unwanted romantic advances’ toward her, which escalated to ‘instances of threatening language.’ The former employee said her contract with the team wasn’t renewed shortly after informing team executives of Kelly’s behavior.

‘Players are the ambassadors of our great game,” Ambrosie added in a statement on Tuesday. “They are expected to be leaders in the locker room and role models in the community. It was important that we performed our due diligence to properly review this matter from all points of view. That in-depth investigation found that Mr. Kelly unequivocally violated the CFL’s Gender-based Violence Policy.’

The 2024 CFL regular season kicks off June 6 and features an 18-game regular season, meaning Kelly will miss at least half the season, in addition to the entire preseason while suspended.

Kelly, who played collegiately at Clemson (2012-2013), East Mississippi Community College (2014) and Ole Miss (2015-2016), was selected by the Denver Broncos with the final pick of the 2017 NFL draft to become that year’s Mr. Irrelevant. After a brief stint with the Indianapolis Colts, Kelly signed with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts in February 2022 and helped the team win the Grey Cup that season. Kelly signed a three-year, $1.865 million deal in August 2023 to become the highest-paid player in the league.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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