Chris Butschler may no longer be his team’s head coach, but that doesn’t mean Langley Rams president Gord Querin is any less upset with the ruling handed down earlier this week that bans the veteran coach from football for two years.
On Monday, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports ruled that Butschler interfered with CCES officials who had attempted to drug-test three of his players after a Sept. 11 B.C. Junior Football game in Kamloops.
Butschler – who had coached 12 years with the Rams – did not appeal the decision “because he doesn’t want to bother with having to hire a lawyer,” said Querin, adding that he knew of the CCES investigation into Butschler’s actions, but was surprised to hear of the two-year suspension.
Butschler was not available for comment.
According to Querin, CCES officials approached Butshler after the Sept. 11 game – which the Rams lost – and asked to take blood samples of three players. While drug testing in junior football is not uncommon, Querin said the request for blood was a surprise to Butschler, who held his players from testing while he made a phone call to make sure the right process was being followed.
In the end, the players were tested, but, according to Querin, the 30-minute delay was enough for the CCES to declare that Butschler had interfered in the process.
“We’re very disappointed… they fumbled the whole operation,” Querin said, adding that neither he nor the team objects to testing players for performance-enhancing drugs.
“It’s for the safety and health of our players, and it’s the job of the CCES to (enforce) those rules, but… the idea that Chris somehow interfered, it’s completely false.”
“No one told us they’d be taking blood, and Chris found it unconstitutional, and he wanted to take the time to make sure things were being done right. He just wanted some clarification.”
While Butschler had planned to step away from his head-coaching duties at the end of the year regardless of the CCES ruling, Querin said what upsets him most is that the suspension could potentially sully Butschler’s reputation as a top-notch football coach.
Under his leadership, the Rams – whose players range in age from 18 to 23 – have never missed the playoffs.
“To have 20 years of coaching boil down to something like this is just an absolute atrocity,” Querin said.
“Chris has coached in this league for years and always complied with the drug tests, and I hope people realize how good he is to these kids and how much he cares.
“I’m so fed up with (the CCES). They made an example of him.”
The Rams president also took issue with the CCES for its testing policies, which selects players at random for testing.
“It’s anything but random. If you saw the players they tested, it’s pretty obvious – it’s targeted,” he said.
Officials at the CCES were not available for comment.