Despite acquittal, Riders should steer clear of Justin Cox

Pretend you’re Craig Reynolds, president and CEO of the community-owned Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It’s likely going to be your decision whether troubled defensive back Justin Cox should re-join your CFL team. The guy in charge of football operations, Chris Jones, is almost certainly arguing that Cox is a fantastic football player who can help the team win and, honest, even though Cox has been charged three times with domestic violence, he’s really a good kid who won’t get in trouble again.

What do you do?

Don’t let him come back.

You understand that winning is important in pro sports, especially following a 5-13 season and moving into a new stadium where fans will be screaming for the team’s first postseason appearance since 2014. But there’s nothing that says a team can’t win with character and pride.

Since arriving in 2016, Jones has jettisoned most of the team’s noteworthy veterans, players who were involved front-and-centre in the community and never got into trouble: John Chick, Darian Durant, Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf. It makes you worry about Spencer Moore’s fate because he has a community-minded presence.

Jones pondered recruiting Greg Hardy, a former NFLer whose domestic violence charges are disturbing, and momentarily had racist Khalif Mitchell in town. His big-name quarterback signing this offseason was Vince Young, fresh off DUI charges. There are several others on the roster with criminal records, but Jones likes to say that if the CFL wasn’t open to signing players with troubled pasts, there wouldn’t be many players available.

He’s right; everyone deserves a second chance. But who deserves four chances?

Outgoing CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge cited the league’s anti-violence campaign and issued an edict following Cox’s arrest in April, right after the Riders released the DB, that prevented teams from signing Cox. With Cox being found not guilty in a Regina courtroom on Monday, that edict will probably be lifted.

Cox told Canadian Press after the trial that he hoped to rejoin the Roughriders, he had spoken to Jones about returning and that he was told — and intends to — contact you, the president/CEO.

Well, men like Justin Cox don’t accidentally get themselves charged three times with domestic violence.

Is the team’s on-field success more important than it’s image? Really, there are ways to be good at both.

While some deranged fans are saying Cox is innocent, so he should be allowed to resume his career, the more sensible fans believe there’s no sense in taking another chance on somebody with three strikes against him. There are other players available, with more talent and less baggage.

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.
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Darrell Davis
About Darrell Davis (123 Articles)
Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.

49 Comments on Despite acquittal, Riders should steer clear of Justin Cox

  1. yes, let him play for the riders.he has been found innocent so give him the right to play again for the riders or whoever.everyone deserves a chance to redeem themselves.

  2. Murderers walk free in this country, but God help you if your accused of hitting a woman. Not that i in anyway condone any such behavior, but because a woman who admits to fabricating a story says he hit her, should the rest of his life be ruined? What if it was you that was framed.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm //

      Actually Dozer, IMO given his past history you are condoning DV by welcoming him back

      • “Not that i in anyway condone any such behavior…”

        Um, you just did condone it. Also, I don’t believe his girlfriend admitted to fabricating anything. From all accounts, she was quite open about what actually happened.

  3. mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 12:17 pm //

    Thank You Darrell Davis
    You echo perfectly my thoughts as well as what I’ve said about Jones since joining this site in February.
    But I guess you and I are just trollers!!

  4. lol “innocent” one outta 3 times. model upstanding citizen here, smh..

    let him rot.

  5. Yes Dozer murderers walk free but does that mean they should? Do you owe them a chance? Abusers of women walk free as well. So they deserve a chance? I don’t get your point.

  6. There’s been so much bad noise over this that the decision has been made for the Riders in the court of public opinion. It’s become lose lose for the Riders regarding Cox. I do hope he is able to get on a roster somewhere else, preferably in the east. I’m no fan of Darrell Davis, but I do agree that you don’t accidentally get charged three times for something; at the very least Cox needs to make a serious lifestyle change.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 12:35 pm //

      If my continued persistent opposition in some small way keeps the rider from making the wrong decision I’m happy to keep doing it

      • Yeah that’s why the Riders made the decision – because of your continued persistant opposition. Wow – congrats Stampland/mrwhatever…

  7. Perry Pachkowski // May 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm //

    Give him a chance he was proven innocent and everyone deserves a second chance

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 12:41 pm //

      Did you read the article.. This isn`t a second chance. It`s the 3rd or 4th chance depending on point of view

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eric Tillman brought him to Hamilton.

    • Not happening! And Tillman had all charges dropped so maybe you should do the same thing!

  9. Won’t waste my time as responding to this guys stupid stories where he seems to think he knows what people are thinking before they do. I believe you would find a witch on a witch hunt.

  10. He was able to be signed last season despite his history. The acquittal means that he should still be judged by the same standard. I say reinstate him and make sure he knows that he’s still under a microscope.

  11. I can’t believe people on here agree with this article. Yes he did wrong in the past but people deserve second or third chances. He comes up here, turns his life around and gets falsely accused of a crime based on that past. The judge acquitted him, it’s not like he settled out of court or something, he was found not guilty. Should he be punished for being set up by his angry/jealous (her words) girlfriend?

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 1:18 pm //

      people should be given 2nd chances Jordan,,,but third and 4th chances…no way regardless of his apparent innocence in this particular incident his past cannot be marginalized and trivialized

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 1:24 pm //

      one thing people should remember.. IN DV cases it`s not uncommon for victims to change their story once the dust and emotions have settled. Sometimes women have exaggerated the situation and other times women simply don`t want the man they `love` to be punished because it was “out of character for him and he`ll never do it again“

      • However even the third party in at the scene between the 2 of them (Joe Craig) said he never saw him hit her. She was mad about Cox flirting with other girls and sounds like she wanted the passcode to get into Cox’s phone and he wouldn’t give that to her. She also admitted on the stand to having anger issues and on several occasions throwing things at Justin and trying to prevent him from leaving the house. Sounds like if there is a DV case her it would be against her. This isn’t made up this is what she swore was the truth, and who are we (people no where near the situation) to say otherwise.

      • Thanks Judge Judy

  12. The man was charged three times with DV. Don’t care how many time he was acquitted. There is a pattern here. This is an ugly thing, with victims, no matter what the outcome was. I for one certainly don’t want my kids looking up to this guy as a role model. If, and a big “IF” he is completely innocent he can still be looked up to for that past. Gee, he got away with it three times… Sorry if it screws up his chances of playing but we all make choices in our lives and it’s our own damn fault when we choose poorly. To have this happen three times is not just a run of bad luck.

    Kids look up to these players and in no way is that any message to send to the young and impressionable.

    • Rico. Open your browser. Search the term: similar fact evidence. Read. Process. We either have laws or we have a mob. Your views are of the mob.

  13. The point is he keeps putting himself in these situations. Haven’t the Riders had enough bad publicity under Jones tenure? I find it ridiculous that so many of Rider supporters are SOOO absolutely certain of them winning, dissing everyone that dares to question Jones, that ONE player is so important. If that’s the case boy do we have a crappy club. How can we POSSIBLY get by without Cox? Get over it. Your desperation is showing.88

  14. As stated on this site before by others many people in the league have a past they may not be proud of. In this particular case Cox was found innocent so really his status of being able to play should not change from what it was last year entering the league. So yes if he was fine to play in the league last year by any rational logic he should be fine to play again now that he has been cleared of the charges that got him banned this year. I agree that it doesn’t speak well of a person being charged 3 times with DV, however if you read the details of the girlfriends testimony she admits to everything including threatening to end his career.

  15. The woman admitted to fabricating the whole story. He was found innocent in a court of law. He IS innocent. He was okay to play before this fabrication and he should be okay to play for the Riders after this fabrication. This is a no brainer people!

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm //

      the court of law and the court of the CFL/Sask roughriders can be mutually exclusive Winsim

    • Actually, his girlfriend didn’t admit to fabricating anything. She told her version of the story, which the judge did not feel presented proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Cox was guilty of DV. He was then acquitted, not proven innocent. You need to read the facts again.

  16. Innocent until proven guilty? She lied about everything, does that not give him the right to play again? It would be the same thing with any other person, except he is a Roughrider so you (3DownNation) will say that he shouldn’t play. HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! Why cant he resume his career? She was just trying to ruin it. Have you talked to him? How do you know he hasn’t changed his life around?

    • Um, where does it say she lied? Also, he wasn’t proven innocent or guilty, he was acquitted because there was not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. His 3 charges of DV are enough for me to say that there’s definitely a pattern here and the CFL should steer clear of Cox.

  17. solara2000 // May 30, 2017 at 1:34 pm //

    Time to move on in the interests of both the team and the player. From the team perspective, the damage done to the Riders’ brand is tangible – his acquittal does not change that reality; its obligations to him are nil.
    For the player, he will forever live with the negative reputation and questionable acceptance and respect, both within the organization, a large segment of the fans (the real paymaster) and the community, as a result of his history of off-field happenings.

  18. Riders13 // May 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm //

    I rarely agree with anything Darrell Davis says or writes and this time is no different. Justin Cox has been charged for ALLEGED DV 3 times and not convicted of any of them (although there was a plea bargain on one). We all have read the details on this latest dismissed charge and it’s apparent that it was caused by a jealous, obsessive young woman with anger issues who wanted to ruin his career. I hope Reynolds reinstates Cox and thwarts her effort to accomplish her goal.

    Regarding the other 2 alleged offences, no one here knows exactly what happened. Circumstances in those cases could’ve been similar to this case but the point is that he was not convicted. End of story. God help us if people can be persecuted and prejudiced against despite having never been convicted of a crime, especially one as serious as DV. God help anyone the next time someone makes up shit about you.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm //

      Haven’t you taken a stance against Tommie Campbell Rider13?

      • Riders13 // May 30, 2017 at 1:43 pm //

        Nope, I don’t believe I’ve commented on that situation at all. He’s Calgary’s problem.

  19. JimmyLeach // May 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm //

    People seem to think it’s guilty until proven innocent in this case, but in fact in Canada you are actually innocent until proven guilty. Cox was found innocent in a court of law and if the girl made up the story he should be able to play plain and simple. I know he has had domestic violence issues in the past and for that I hope he gets help. Fact is he’s innocent and he has every right to play

    • Sigh. He was not proven innocent. He was acquitted. Those are not the same thing.

  20. Did Jones not say they were aware of his previous history & he was comfortable it would not happen again? His previous history was NOT convictions. Convictions have nothing to do with this. Had there been convictions he wouldn’t have been playing. Jones has stated publicly that his previous brushes with the law were not to reoccur. His last chance has disappeared unless of course Jones goes ahead & makes the Riders a bigger joke than his earlier escapade.

    • How does being not guilty and cleared of all charges laid against you count as a chance? Because of league policy the riders had to release him, however now that the case is over his status as far as eligibility to play in this league should not have changed from last year. If you read the details of the case if anyone should have been charged with DV it should have been her.

      • Being acquitted does not mean being found innocent/not guilty. You keep confusing those things.

        • Dan. There’s no such thing as being proven innocent. One is presumed innocent. That presumption remains unless one is found guilty. That’s where you were confused. sigh. I have a law degree and you don’t

          • I’m pretty sure someone can be proven innocent via evidence, alibis, etc. – but maybe I’m wrong. My point is that being presumed innocent is not the same as being innocent. Look, I get what you’re saying, but that’s not what TDot is saying. He’s trotting around here proclaiming that Cox is factually innocent (as if the acquittal proved he was innocent), which it didn’t. Yes, our justice system requires that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Sure. I believe in that system. However, it’s not the same as actually being proven innocent i.e. Cox was found to be in Costa Rica at the time of the incident, etc.

            Further, TDot has repeatedly engaged in spreading lies about the alleged victim i.e. she made everything up. There is no evidence to support this. The alleged victim’s own testimony contradicts that statement.

            What TDot is engaged in does not feel like objectivity to me. It feels like victim-blaming and hero worship, which are two systemic problems when it comes to instances of DV involving pro athletes.

          • In the justice system there is no proven innocent. Even if someone was found to be “in Costa Rica at the time of the incident” the judge doesn’t bang his gavel and say innocent as charged, in fact it would be the same verdict of not guilty. Regardless of what evidence is presented there isn’t an innocent verdict, cases that go to trial the jury finds people not guilty of charges, they don’t find them innocent. Making what your point moot.

            I never said the alleged victim made everything up, bot even once. In fact I am pretty sure in Canada the police have to press charges in DV cases regardless of what the victim wants(however i could be wrong). The alleged victim testified that Cox did not ever intentionally hit her “She said Cox would “try to get away from the situation” and that she would physically block the door, jump on him to keep him from leaving and throw things at him. She said he never intentionally hit her.” Source: CBC news
            What I engaged in is the spreading of the facts based on source information available to everyone online, which i suggest you read as I shouldn’t have to cite it. I never once said it was the alleged victims fault nor did I make Cox out to be a hero (I never spoke about his football ability or said he was an upstanding citizen). Furthermore it doesn’t matter if this case involves a pro athlete as I said before on other posts you could be a regular guy that works a 9-5 and have the same thing happen and I would feel the same.
            Please do some research of the facts available on this case. Also, by your standards anyone ever accused of anything and brought up court on charges regardless of the outcome is not innocent, ludicrous! Please quit spreading false statements and putting words into my mouth.

  21. Riders13 // May 30, 2017 at 1:51 pm //

    Well news is out that the Riders are taking a pass on Justin Cox. He’ll probably end up in Calgary now.

    • mrnehnehincognito // May 30, 2017 at 2:05 pm //

      doubt it. Calgary would not condone him and the fact is..we just don’t need the position filled

  22. Ladd Law // May 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm //

    It’s likely going to be your decision whether troubled defensive back Justin Cox should re-join your CFL team. The guy in charge of football operations, Chris Jones, is almost certainly arguing that Cox is a fantastic football player who can help the team win and, honest, even though Cox has been charged three times with domestic violence, he’s really a good kid who won’t get in trouble again. . . . is speculation at best. DD has no idea what was said or not, but wanted to get his share of comments and reads so he dribbles this out. Poor at best.

  23. Judge Jones // May 30, 2017 at 4:48 pm //

    It just amazes me that some people will sacrifice their morals for the sake of winning. I would hope this mentality is localized to this site.

    It’s nice to see Reynolds finally decided to take control if only because the decent people in the province were telling him enough is enough.

  24. TDot, you’re missing the point. Justin Cox was given a chance NOT to do what he was doing before – in simplest terms, getting in trouble with the law. It’s not a question of innocence – he was innocent by law. What happened is he put himself for the THIRD time in a situation where his actions were questionable. To condemn the female & say she should be charged is short-sighted. For example, the NFL looked the other way with Ray Lewis until a video appeared showing his violent actions against his girlfriend. She later dropped all charges & no legal action was taken against him. In fact they got married & she forgave him but he hasn’t found work DESPITE him not being “guilty” by law. It is not unusual, as Stampland has noted once, for the victims of abuse to not press charges or drop charges or say it never happened for many reasons, not the least of which is being treated unfairly by the courts. There are numerous examples of that in Canada recently including a judge being dismissed for that. You can’t assume that nothing happened just because the charges were dropped. The point is Cox keeps reappearing in court with different women over the same charges. It may not be financially feasible or too embarrassing to go to trial when the majority of cases make the victim feel like it’s her fault.

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