Argonauts GM Clemons takes blame for Bethel-Thompson's situation

Arash Madani joined Tim & Friends to discuss the CFL reversing their COVID policy, allowing McLeod Bethel-Thompson and three other Toronto Argonauts to take part in the East-Final this Sunday.

Toronto Argonauts general manager Michael "Pinball" Clemons knew ahead of time that starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson would be making an appearance at Thursday's Toronto Raptors game.

Unfortunately, he did not realize Bethel-Thompson was violating the CFL's COVID-19 protocol, which prohibits players from attending large sporting events.

"It was certainly my thought, OK, he's been approved to go to the game. I've had one or two things that I've done that I've asked the league on the protocols. And so all of those things we thought were inherent in his visit," Clemons explained on Sportsnet 590's The Fan Drive Time with Arash Madani and Stephen Brunt.

"He simply obliged with what the team asked him to do and so he finds himself kind of stuck in the middle. This is an error on my part. This is a situation that we should not have put him in."

Under the CFL's COVID-19 protocol, Bethel-Thompson would have had to quarantine for four days and provide two negative tests before being able to resume team activities. This would have meant the Argos would have been without their starting quarterback against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East final Sunday.

The league sent out a statement saying Bethel-Thompson will be allowed to play Sunday if he produced negative PCR tests Friday and Saturday as well as a negative Rapid Antigen Test on Sunday following a 48-hour quarantine at his home.

Dexter McCoil, Charleston Hughes, Llevi Noel and Jeff Richards were also at the Raptors game and were sent home by the team as they also violated the league's protocol. The CFL explained those four players will have to pass the same requirements as Bethel-Thompson in order to play on Sunday.

If Bethel-Thompson was not able to play for the Argos, Clemons said the team would have been prepared as if they were dealing with an injury.

"The very first thing that goes in your mind, what we do is, one, check out the situation, get detailed on the situation itself and be prepared to adapt," Clemons explained.

"In our game, the changes, and especially in this culture, have been so numerous and so rapid that you're constantly trying to respond to the next injury, the next challenge and that's the mode that you switch into when something like that happens. You're collecting information and trying to understand the entirety of the situation as much as you possibly can and then it is the what-if scenarios."

If Bethel-Thompson does not clear COVID protocols, Antonio Pipkin will start for Toronto. Regardless of who starts, Clemons doesn't want his team to miss the moment.

"The basics of what we've been talking about the last several weeks is don't miss the moment. With all of the things that went on today, our conversation really is still about the moment itself with the opportunity to play in the East final after a couple of difficult years, not just on the field, but off the field," Clemons said. "We're proud of this group and proud of what they've done and we just really want them to play their best game."

You can listen to Clemon's appearance in full in the audio player below.

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