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Argonauts' Kelly given minimum nine-game suspension by CFL


The Canadian Football League has suspended Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly for a minimum of nine regular-season games for violating the league’s gender-based violence policy.

The decision comes after the league commissioned an independent third-party investigation into allegations made against Kelly in February by a female former Argos assistant strength coach who is suing him for sexual harassment and the team for wrongful dismissal.

According to the league, Kelly’s return to the field will be dependent on undergoing confidential assessments by an independent expert and attending mandatory counselling sessions conducted by an expert in gender-based violence. At the conclusion of that process, Kelly will be reassessed, with the league reserving the right to modify his discipline.

“Players are the ambassadors of our great game,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie in a statement released Tuesday afternoon by the league. “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.

“Mr. Kelly’s suspension is the direct result of his behaviour. The addition of mandatory counselling 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.”

The 30-year-old Kelly is the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly and the CFL’s Reigning Most Outstanding Player. He came to the CFL as the Argos backup quarterback in 2022, following years of indiscretions that followed him from high school to the NFL, where he was the final pick of the 2017 draft.

It was widely reported that Kelly’s draft stock fell in large part because of questions about his off-field character.

He gained notoriety in Canada by coming off the bench during the 2022 Grey Cup game and rallying the Argonauts to a come-from-behind win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, then following that with an outstanding 2023 campaign that netted him only the MOP award, but also a new contract that made him the CFL’s highest-paid player.