CFL fines Bruce for Jackson tribute

September 16, 2009, 3:33 AM


TORONTO — Arland Bruce might have thought it would be a thriller but the CFL decided it was simply bad.

The league fined the Toronto slotback an undisclosed amount Thursday for his touchdown celebration in the Argos’ season-opening win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Wednesday.

Bruce said he was paying tribute to Michael Jackson. The CFL called it "excessive."

After scoring on a 21-yard pass from Kerry Joseph to put Toronto ahead 6-0, Bruce removed his helmet, shoulder pads and uniform top, then lay down in the end zone.

Bruce said he was simply honouring Jackson’s memory by pretending to be buried. The game’s referee saw it differently and gave Bruce two objectionable conduct penalties.

"The commissioner has always said he wants the players to have fun, but you can’t go over the line," said a CFL spokesman. "It’s not always easy to draw that line, but when you remove your equipment to lay down and delay the game, like he did, that’s where we draw the line."

The Argonauts said Thursday they support the league’s ruling.

"The issue has been addressed internally by head coach Bart Andrus and his coaching staff and the club is confident that any future touchdown celebrations by Argonauts players will be conducted within the rules of the CFL game," the team said in a release.

"It should be noted that Arland apologized of his own volition to his teammates in today’s team meeting."

In an interview after the game, Andrus said he had spoken with Bruce.

"I made the mistake of telling him in camp that once he got to the end zone I didn’t care what he did," Andrus said. "But he’s straight with it now and I think next time around he will celebrate in an appropriate manner."


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