The Ottawa Redblacks' 12-6 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Sunday sparked plenty of tensions, especially around a hit Ticats' linebacker Simoni Lawrence put on Redblacks' quarterback Henry Burris in the first quarter. Burris and his teammates complained vociferously that the hit was low and that it was targeting Burris' knee (which he was wearing a brace on, following a hit last week and a couple of days of missed practices this week), and Burris told TSN's Matthew Scianitti in a mid-game interview that "There's no place for people like that in this game." Lawrence defended himself (later in that clip) by saying "He was outside the pocket. If you look at how I tackle, I tackle low anytime a quarterback's outside the pocket." The war of words continued post-game, and that's where it got particularly heated, as Gord Holder of The Ottawa Citizen writes:
“I think (Lawrence) is a great player, all that type of stuff, but great players don’t need to do those things to be seen. Their play does the talking,” an admittedly angry Burris, who played for the Ticats in 2012-13, said after the game. “I’m not talking about that team. That team has great character. I know that locker-room well. They have great guys in that locker-room, but for him to do that, that’s bush league, and people like that shouldn’t be playing the game.”
Lawrence didn’t exactly express remorse when he addressed the media in the Ticats’ locker-room.
“If Hank is going to act like a girl and say that’s a low hit and get everybody to jump on board — the TSN panel and everybody else — that’s not right,” said Lawrence, who was Burris’s teammate with Hamilton in 2013. “The refs are not good enough in this league for you guys to talk about that stuff all the time. If you put that in their heads, I’m going to be the player they keep calling that s— on. They’re going to keep saying, ‘Simoni did this, Simoni did that.’ “
After the cameras and audio recorders were turned off, Lawrence fired off a final shot: “He’s 40 years old, acting like a ho.”
Tensions over the hit are understandable, with Burris seeing it as targeting his knee and Lawrence seeing it as a way to avoid a penalty for a hit to the head (video and analysis of the hit can be found here). However, Burris' suggestions that Lawrence shouldn't be in the league seem a bit strong, and Lawrence's gendered insults seem even more unnecessary; there's plenty of ways for him to get his point across without using "act like a girl" or "acting like a ho" (regardless of if that last one came with the cameras off, it's still a highly problematic comment). Those might just get him fined by the league, even if the hit itself doesn't. In any case, what is clear here is that there will be plenty of fuel added to the fire for next week's rematch between the teams, which already carried the high stakes of determining first place in the East. You can bet Burris and Lawrence will both be eager to back up their talk with play next week.