Stampeders hoping to give OL Washington a second chance - Allen Cameron, Montreal Gazette
CALGARY — John Hufnagel had been bracing for the impact for the better part of six months when he decided to sign offensive lineman Tony Washington to a contract.
It arrived on Friday when word finally started leaking out that Washington, 25, is a registered sex offender who, at the age of 16, had sex with his 15-year-old sister.
Now, the Stamps are waiting to see if Canadian immigration officials will allow Washington, who had a troubled upbringing but who has owned up to his past and has been forgiven by his sister, across the border.
“We signed him knowing it would be a challenge getting him to Calgary,” Hufnagel acknowledged on Friday. “He has a history, but we’ve done our due diligence, we’ve been in communication with numerous people who are involved in the situation, and I’ve talked personally to Tony numerous times on the phone, and he was in Florida (for the Stamps’ free-agent camp), where I sat down and talked to the young man.”
The process of Washington applying for permission to come to Canada was hampered by Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed court records and psychiatrist reports that came out of the incident.
“The process is continuing,” said Hufnagel. “They wanted certain things to be sent to them, which was the court-case proceedings and the results of his psychiatry test. Both sets of papers were lost in the hurricane, so he’s just finished taking a psychiatric test that is being delivered, and we’ll see where it goes.”
Stamps try to give ex-con chance - Ian Busby, Calgary Sun
John Hufnagel believes in second chances.
He believes Tony Washington deserves one.
The problem with bringing in a player with a checkered past into the Canadian Football League is immigration officials sometimes have other ideas about letting a registered sex offender into the country.
The Calgary Stampeders GM-head coach has met Washington face to face, heard his story and believes he’s paid the price for his crime.
When Washington was 16, he was convicted of having consensual sex with his 15-year-old sister.
It was a horrible mistake, one that has nearly completely destroyed any chance he has of living a normal live let alone playing professional football.
But the label doesn’t completely describe the offensive lineman who is now 24 and eight years removed from the incident.
The Stamps may never get him into training camp, but they are still going through the process.
“If he shows up, good. If he doesn’t show up, we’ll move on,” said Hufnagel. “I knew the history would be a challenge.
“I have given a lot of players who are part of this team a second chance. I personally was comfortable with everything I discovered about the young man in conversations I’ve had and communications I’ve had.
“It was a good gamble to make.”