Calgary Stampeder Bo Levi Mitchell is making CFL news again this week with allegations against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. His comments and the subsequent backlash from the Roughriders coaching and fans couldn’t come at a better – or worse – time, depending on how you look at it. Heading into a rematch game deep in already-hostile territory, Bo Levi Mitchell fuels rivalry in what could become a very ugly battle on the field and off.
Bo Levi Mitchell Fuels Rivalry
Anyone following CFL news this week is well-versed in the allegations that Mitchell has made towards the Roughriders of cheating. CFL quarterbacks are making a habit of stirring the pot lately with controversial comments. Last week, Henry Burris took a stab at the TSN panel regarding comments they’ve made on his performance. And at the same time, Mitchell was commenting on Stamps fans leaving the game early. This week, Mitchell’s comments on Twitter are much more serious.
I bet none of the people they signed needed flights .. ? https://t.co/c8aAdx1XL1
— Bo Levi Mitchell (@BoLeviMitchell) August 9, 2016
So what does this do for the game? Going into Mosaic Stadium is tough for any opponent. And with Mitchell’s comments, it’s even tougher. Since Mitchell’s tweets on Tuesday, fans are outraged. Even Rider’s head coach Chris Jones is retaliating. He has said, “It’s up to Huff and to Dave how they allow their players to talk on social media,” Jones said. “We’re just here to improve our football team.” Fans are calling Mitchell every name in the book. On Facebook, Rider fans are saying they will boo him every time he steps out onto the field, and Mitchell may have just given them the ammunition.
Mitchell doesn’t seem too concerned though. He has since said that this drives him to do better and appreciates how Saskatchewan fans get behind their team. He loves going to Mosaic because of their loud fans. Mitchell also adds he wants to silence them. So there’s some extra motivation. Both teams want to win. The rivalry could reach an all-time high.
Thanks to all Rider Fans giving me my edge for this week. Love the hate. Love the fuel. #thisoneisforyou
— Bo Levi Mitchell (@BoLeviMitchell) August 10, 2016
To Tweet or Not to Tweet
With emotions at their highest and players hyped up on all cylinders, it begs the question: should players jump on social media to call out other teams? Or should they just play the game? Twenty years ago there wasn’t this problem. But it’s 2016 and there is this problem. And it’s great because it gives fans greater access to players and vice-versa.
Many coaches probably wish Twitter didn’t exist, or that players would refrain from using it to comment on players and teams. But it won’t happen and Mitchell isn’t the only one. Players across the league use Twitter to voice opinion and unleash the odd trash talk.
Mitchell even said that it’s a small league, players talk. He may have fuelled the fire, but the sparks were already there. Mitchell tweeting isn’t the problem. Should have he used other measures or stayed out of it? Maybe. But what’s done is done. And the league is aware of the allegations and looking into it. He, and the rest of the league, have to wait for an outcome.
As for Saturday’s game, it isn’t just the same old rivalry between two Western teams. It’s now something more. And CFL fans will back their team to the end. It will just be a tougher fight.