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CFL commissioner defends investigation process into allegations made against Argos, Chad Kelly

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie is defending his organization’s approach to handling an investigation into allegations against the Toronto Argonauts and quarterback Chad Kelly.

The investigation comes after a lawsuit from a former Argonauts strength-and-conditioning coach was launched against the club for wrongful dismissal and Kelly for alleged violations of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Ambrosie laid out a timeline for reporters Thursday about the league’s investigation into the allegations.

“On Thursday last week we were advised by the Argos that a complaint had been registered. Thursday afternoon and into the evening, work was done by my staff to understand the background behind the complaint. By the time I went home for the evening I had authorized an investigation,” Ambrosie said.

He added that a process plan was created Friday, with an independent investigator was hired by the league, with the Argos and the CFL Players Association notified.

On Monday, the parties were formally notified, written notification went out on Tuesday and the league made a public announcement on Wednesday.

“The most important thing is we have a proper independent investigation done,” Ambrosie said.

Ambrosie said it was too soon to pass judgment or speculate on any sort of punishment.

“I’m not going to speculate on what the outcome of this could be. It’s not fair to the process, it’s not fair to the investigation, you have to let those things happen first,” he said.

The complainant in the lawsuit filed a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last week, alleging a pattern of harassment by Kelly, beginning with unwanted romantic advances and escalating into instances of threatening language.

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She also said the Argos did not act when told of Kelly’s behaviour and claims assistant general manager John Murphy said she “opened a can of worms that didn’t need to be opened.”

The complainant said she was told Jan. 29 that her contract would not be renewed. She had joined the Argonauts in 2018 and said her contract had previously been continually renewed.

The complainant is seeking $80,000 from Kelly and a total of $85,714 from the Argonauts. The Canadian Press does not publish the names of alleged victims of harassment or sexual assault unless granted permission.

The allegations have not been tested in court.

Ambrosie was questioned about how the Argos handled the initial complaint, and whether the league’s investigation would also examine the team’s actions.

“I want a thorough, complete investigation of the entire incident and all of its connecting issues,” he said.

The Argos said in a statement yesterday that they will co-operate with the CFL’s investigation.

“The Toronto Argonauts share the CFL’s commitment to providing healthy and positive work environments,” the CFL club said. “The organization will reserve any further comment until the conclusion of the league’s investigation.”

Ambrosie was speaking to reporters to announce a slate of sponsors for the upcoming 2024 Grey Cup, being held in Vancouver.

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