REGINA – A third player with the Saskatchewan Roughriders football club is charged with aggravated assault after a bar fight in Regina.
Wide receiver Eron Riley, 26, appeared in provincial court Friday, where he was released on conditions that included keeping the peace and staying away from alcohol. Riley did not talk to reporters when he left court.
The charge comes after police were called to a nightclub just before 3 a.m. on Aug. 18 and found a 20-year-old man with serious injuries.
Police earlier charged defensive back Dwight Anderson, 32, and wide receiver Taj Smith, 29, each with one count of aggravated assault. They made a brief appearance together in provincial court Thursday and were also released on conditions.
All three are scheduled to be back in court Oct. 8.
Anderson and Smith are listed as starters for Saturday’s game against the Toronto Argonauts; Riley is on the injured list.
“They want to play and they’re going to be ready to play, so they’ll go this week,” Riders’ general manager Brendan Taman said Friday after practice.
Taman acknowledged the situation is serious. He said the toughest thing is not having all the information, but he also defended the decision to play Anderson and Smith.
“They were charged, there’s no doubt,” said Taman.
“And when proven guilty, I think — if proven guilty — that’ll be the next the step. So if they’re not guilty, I would be hard-pressed to be feeling very comfortable benching guys if they’re innocent.”
Players are usually made available to speak to reporters after practice, but Anderson and Smith were not on Friday.
Taman said “they’ve got a job to play, it’s football.”
Riders’ head coach Cory Chamblin would not talk about how important it is to have Anderson and Smith on the roster. When asked if playing them is a sign of support, Chamblin said he’ll support everyone on the team “because we’re a family.”
“Those guys are a part of this team, whoever it is, not just Dwight, the whole team. And we’re going to support them until we get to that point where we can’t anymore,” said Chamblin.
Linebacker Rey Williams tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees in Sunday’s loss at Winnipeg and will be out for the rest of the season. Slotback Weston Dressler is on the depth chart for Saturday’s game, but Chamblin said Dressler won’t play because of an injury.
“This is the guys, this is their job, this is what they do. At the end of the day, the biggest thing, like I told them is, you don’t read the blogs and if you don’t listen to the TV, you’ll just do your job,” said Chamblin.
“They just have to make sure that they keep out all those unwanted things and move forward.”
At 8-2, the Riders are tied with the Calgary Stampeders at the top of the CFL’s overall standings.
Quarterback Darian Durant said the team can’t let the off-field events be a distraction. He said the ultimate goal is to win the Grey Cup game, which will be played in Regina this November.
“I mean you’re dealing with grown men. They know what’s right and what’s wrong. They know about how to conduct themselves and at the end of the day, like I said, it’s all about winning football games,” Durant said.
“That’s what this team is focused on. We’ll let everything else take care of itself.”