Simoni Lawrence's appeal hearing for his hit to the head of Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Zach Collaros is set for July 9, meaning the Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker will get to play in three games after he was originally suspended for two games by the CFL earlier this week, according to TSN's Farhan Lalji.
The CFL requested a June 25th appeal while the CFLPA wanted to have it on June 28th. Lawrence can now play against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday and against the Montreal Alouettes on both June 28th and July 4th.
Lawrence, 30, appealed the suspension on Wednesday to the disappointment of CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
"The CFL is deeply disappointed that the CFLPA has decided to contest the league’s attempt to punish and deter a dangerous play," Ambrosie said in a statement. "We should embrace a shared responsibility to do all we can to punish and deter any play that crosses the line. It is disappointing that the union has decided to use a legal process, at considerable time and expense, to defend an offending player instead of standing up for the player hurt on the play. Let’s use that time and money to instead work together on new ways to promote and protect all players’ safety."
The CFLPA responded to Ambrosie's comments, saying they were an "attack on the process and the rights allotted to all CFL players" and said they were "both disappointing and unhelpful."
The incident happened in the season opener last Thursday when Lawrence lowered his shoulder and made contact with Collaros’ helmet as the quarterback was sliding at the end of a run on the third offensive play of the game. Collaros remained on the turf for several minutes after the hit before walking off the field under his own power. He exchanged words with Lawrence, his teammate for four seasons in Hamilton, as he left the field.
Collaros didn’t return to the game, getting replaced by backup Cody Fajardo, while Lawrence was assessed a 25-yard roughing the passer penalty on the play.