The Canadian Football League fined one of its players an undisclosed amount on Thursday over a series of tweets, including one that linked to a video titled “The Greatest Lie Ever Told, the Holocaust” last week.
Khalif Mitchell was also fined by the Montreal Alouettes, the CFL franchise he currently plays for. The league says the defensive lineman violated its social media policy.
“There is absolutely no place in our league for commentary used to divide or disparage others along the lines of sex, race, religion or sexual orientation,” said CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge in a news release on Thursday.
The CFL’s policy warns players “there are no ‘off hours’ when it comes to social media,” adding everything is “very public” and on the record. It also reminds players they can be fined by the commissioner for “anything, really, that gives [the league] a bad name.”
“While we acknowledge that players have a right to hold and express their own opinions, in no circumstance do we condone activity or comments that are derogatory or inappropriate, putting the league's reputation in question — and we feel Mr. Mitchell's recent behaviour on social media has violated these principles,” Orridge said.
Alouettes president and CEO Mark Weightman distanced the team from Mitchell, calling the tweets “disappointing.”
“His postings were completely unacceptable and the Alouettes apologize to anyone who was offended by them,” he said.
On Wednesday, human rights group B’nai Brith Canada said they were notified about a series of Mitchell’s tweets, calling his Twitter account “replete with bizarre postings and outlandish conspiracy theories.”
Beyond the link to the Holocaust denial video, the group says Mitchell has also tweeted comparisons of police to the Ku Klux Klan. But this isn’t the first time the former league all-star has been in hot water over online postings.
Mitchell was fined by the CFL in 2012 for violating its social media policy when he was playing for the BC Lions. He was caught using derogatory terms to describe people of Chinese descent. On top of the fine, he was forced to sit out one game.
“As an all-star and role model for Canadian youth, Mr. Mitchell should not be sending out divisive and hateful tweets under the banner of the Montreal Alouettes organization,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said in a statement.
With files from The Canadian Press
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