CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders won't have stalwart Canadian linebacker Cameron Judge on Saturday night when they complete their home-and-home series with the B.C. Lions.
Judge received a one-game suspension from the CFL on Tuesday for a post-game altercation involving B.C. receiver Lucky Whitehead following the Lions 31-29 overtime win Saturday night at McMahon Stadium. Judge said he has no plans to appeal the ban, meaning he won't play when the two teams meet again at B.C. Place.
"It's very disappointing," Judge said following Calgary's practice Tuesday. "I feel like I let my team down and that's usually not something that I do, but that's what happened and I feel bad about it.
"I hope the guys (have) my back out there and get the win."
After the game, Judge approached Whitehead, who'd removed his helmet, on the field and struck the Lions player, knocking Whitehead to the ground. That touched off an on-field melee involving Lions and Stampeders players as Judge was ultimately led off the field.
A group of Lions players then made their way to Calgary's dressing room, but were met by police and security who were already present. Nothing more transpired, other than some shouting between players from both teams.
The Calgary Police Service confirmed there was a verbal altercation following the game between several members from each of the teams and said police members were on the scene. Police aren't investigating further because there wasn't a physical altercation and no criminal allegations.
There was no reason provided for Judge's actions although there were reports Whitehead had made disparaging remarks about a member of Judge's family. But Judge wouldn't reveal what Whitehead said to make him angry.
"I think the people who need to hear what went down heard it," Judge said. "I could have definitely handled it better than how I did, but I'm going to take my punishment and move forward."
The two teams combined for 21 penalties for 215 yards in the game (Calgary was flagged 12 times for 128 yards, B.C. was called nine times for 87 yards).
After the contest, Whitehead called out Judge in a tweet, saying "I pray he travels next week."
But that won't be the case.
"I respect what the league does. They're in charge," Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson said of the suspension. "I think Cam basically needs to talk for himself.
"I just want our guys to understand we need to compete, we need to work. We really don't need any of that extracurricular stuff."
With a victory Saturday night, the Lions (9-3) would clinch their first CFL playoff spot since 2018.
Calgary (8-5-0) and the Lions could cement playoff berths with a Stampeders win and losses by both Hamilton and Ottawa. The Ticats (4-9) visit Montreal (5-7) on Friday night while the Redblacks (3-9) host Toronto (7-5) on Saturday evening.
Judge's absence will be a big one for Calgary. He had a game-high nine tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery against B.C. last weekend.
"We're a team. We definitely will have a plan," Dickenson said. "I do think he's been as good any of our defenders.
"I think he's got a chance to maybe even bring home some hardware this year on an individual basis, but Cam is a team guy. We enjoy having him on the team. He's a hard worker. It'll be a loss, but we have guys that can replace him.
"Things can happen in life and you address it and you learn from it. I would hope you learn and do better next time."
The CFL's penalty comes a day after the NFL suspended Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans for a game following an on-field altercation Sunday in the Buccaneers 20-10 win over New Orleans.
Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore were ejected from the game for their roles in an on-field incident sparked by shoving between Lattimore and Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette.
That came after Lattimore and Tampa quarterback Tom Brady exchanged words.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2022.
— With files from Donna Spencer in Calgary.