The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ game of musical running backs has been impacted by a negative chord.
One member of the CFL teams tailback troika — Jerome Messam — was released Monday after being charged with voyeurism.
The CFL reacted by informing “all member clubs that the league will not register a contract for Messam should any team attempt to sign him.”
REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders have released running back Jerome Messam following a criminal charge dating back to November of 2016.
Whenever a legal matter pertains to a Roughriders player, discussion inevitably turns to the club’s code of conduct and its brand.
The shield, if you will, is of such importance to the team that it recently appointed a chief brand officer (Anthony Partipilo).
Developments such as the case of Messam do not reflect positively upon the brand. But it is crucial to put the latest news in context.
Consider all the laudable things Roughriders players do to enhance the brand, and the province in which they earn a living.
Quarterback Zach Collaros, who was activated from the six-game injured list on Monday, is donating a portion of his salary to the mamaweyatitan centre, a multi-use integrated facility in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood.
Centre Dan Clark, fullback Spencer Moore, lineman Eddie Steele and long-snapper Jorgen Hus tirelessly and selflessly volunteer their time as part of the province-wide “Imagine No Bullying” campaign.
The entire team reached out to the community of Humboldt by holding a training-camp session in that community.
The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, who were involved in an April 6 bus tragedy, were also honoured June 30 when the Roughriders played host to the Montreal Alouettes.
And now there is the situation regarding Messam, who was employed by the Stampeders when the alleged incident occurred in November of 2016.
Messam then spent another full season with the Calgary Stampeders before being released in February, two months before the complainant raised the issue with the Calgary police. The player was charged Sunday.
Even if the legal matter had not arisen, it is doubtful that there would have been a rabid market for the 33-year-old Messam, who was clearly in decline.
Consider the diminishing average yards per carry: 6.2 (in 2015), 5.8 (2016), 4.7 (2017) and 3.9 (2018).
Granted, the three-time 1,000-yard rusher had helped the 3-3 Roughriders close out two of their victories with some key fourth-quarter runs, but he was no longer an every-down player — despite the ratio-related benefits the team stood to derive from his Canadian citizenship.
Most recently, he erupted for a fumble in Saturday’s 34-22 loss to the visiting Stampeders. During that game, as in the previous five contests this season, he shared playing time with Marcus Thigpen and Tre Mason.
Tellingly, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Messam wasn’t even on the field in two situations that are seemingly tailor-made for a tailback of his dimensions.
On third-and-two in the second frame, the Roughriders gambled successfully thanks to a 18-yard run by Mason — the team’s longest offensive play of the day, as it turned out, during a generally dismal display.
REGINA — Jerome Messams second stint with the Saskatchewan Roughriders has come to an abrupt end after the Canadian running back was charged with voyeurism.
The Riders announced via Twitter on Monday that the hard-running veteran had been released “after he has been criminally charged following an incident in November 2016.” The CFL said in a separate statement that the charge was voyeurism.
Both the Roughriders and CFL said they will not have further comment as the matter is now before the court.
Messam was a Calgary Stampeder in 2016 and a Calgary Police spokeswoman said the charge “relates to the alleged video-taping of a consensual sexual encounter with a victim.
The adult complainant came to police in April 2018 after being told Messam had the alleged tape, which police said had not been posted anywhere.
I hope that very soon I will be found not guilty of this accusation and that I will be able to continue my playing career. I appreciate all of the people that have stood by me and are supporting me right now,” said Messam. “To the fans, I hope that you will remember how hard I worked on the field and the difference I tried to make in my community in every city Ive played in.
1/2… From Jerome Messam: hope that very soon I will be found not guilty of this accusation and that I will be able to continue my playing career. I appreciate all of the people that have stood my me and are supporting me right now… #Riders #Stampeders @CFLonTSN
2/2… More Messam, To the fans, I hope that you will remember how hard I worked on the field & the difference I tried to make in my community in every city Ive played in. Obviously he cant comment on the charges. His lawyers are in communication with #cfl & #cflpa @CFLonTSN
The six-foot-three, 240-pound Messam ran for just 206 yards on 52 carries (3.9-yard average) in six regular-season appearances this season.
Messam rejoined the Riders as a free agent this off-season after spending parts of three campaigns with the Stampeders (2015-17). Messam registered consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaigns (1,198 yards in 2016, 1,016 in 2017) with the Stamps before returning to Saskatchewan.
Messam, a 33-year-old from Brampton, Ont., spent the 2014-15 seasons with Saskatchewan before being dealt to Calgary on Oct. 14, 2015.
Under the Criminal Code, voyeurism is when someone “surreptitiously, observes — including by mechanical or electronic means — or makes a visual recording of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy.”