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Argos' Kelly suspended at least 9 games

John E. Sokolowski / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The CFL suspended Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly for the 2024 preseason and a minimum of nine further games for violating its gender-based violence policy, the league announced Tuesday.

Kelly is required to attend counselling sessions and undergo confidential assessments by an independent expert to gain reinstatement. The league can modify Kelly's discipline if he doesn't comply.

"Players are the ambassadors of our great game," CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. "They are expected to be leaders in the locker room and role models in the community. It was important that we performed our due diligence to properly review this matter from all points of view. That in-depth investigation found that Mr. Kelly unequivocally violated the CFL’s gender-based violence policy.

"Mr. Kelly's suspension is the direct result of his behaviour. The addition of mandatory counselling focuses on his need for self-reflection and understanding of his actions. He must take full advantage of this opportunity for personal betterment in order to return to the CFL."

Kelly's agent, Chris Lambiris, said later Tuesday that his client would investigate appealing the ban.

"We were surprised by the CFL's disciplinary decision and will be looking into the appeal process," Lambiris said, according to TSN's Farhan Lalji. "We will continue to do more fact-finding surrounding the decision before making a more in-depth statement."

A former Argonauts strength and conditioning coach filed a lawsuit against Kelly for alleged violations of the Ontario Human Rights Code in February, according to the Canadian Press. The woman also sued the team for wrongful dismissal.

The complainant, who had been with the Argonauts since 2018, said Kelly made unwanted romantic advances toward her while she worked for the team and then used threatening language. At the end of January, the Argonauts told her that her contract wouldn't be renewed.

She is seeking $80,000 from Kelly and a total of $85,714 from the Argonauts.

The quarterback denied the allegations in a statement of defense filed April 30.

Kelly is the CFL's reigning Most Outstanding Player and recently signed a three-year extension to become the league's highest-paid player.

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