Former Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly Faces Nine-Game CFL Suspension

New controversy emerges in CFL involving former NFL player.

by Nouman Rasool
Former Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly Faces Nine-Game CFL Suspension
© Brent Just/Getty Images

Chad Kelly, a former Denver Broncos draft pick and Ole Miss quarterback, has been handed a minimum nine-game suspension by the Canadian Football League (CFL). This decision follows serious allegations against Kelly involving gender-based violence.

The league disclosed the suspension in a Tuesday statement, emphasizing that Kelly's conduct breached its gender-based violence policy. The controversy surrounding Kelly escalated after a former assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Toronto Argonauts, where Kelly played, lodged a lawsuit earlier this year.

She accused Kelly of harassment and contributing to a toxic work environment, igniting a storm of scrutiny around the quarterback. The CFL's investigation into these allegations concluded that Kelly's actions were indeed in violation of league policies.

As a part of his suspension, Kelly is required to undergo confidential assessments by an independent expert and participate in mandatory counseling sessions focused on gender-based violence. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie stressed the importance of player conduct, stating, "Players are the ambassadors of our great game and are expected to be leaders in the locker room and role models in the community."

Harassment Allegations Surface

In addition to the suspension, the lawsuit against Kelly includes several disturbing claims.

The coach alleges that during the 2022 and 2023 seasons, Kelly made multiple inappropriate romantic advances toward her, which she consistently refused. Her allegations detail an incident in November 2023, where Kelly accused her of romantic involvement with another team member, leading to a confrontational and aggressive response from Kelly when she addressed the accusations.

The coach's professional environment deteriorated further when, after reporting Kelly's behavior, she was informed by team management that she had "opened a can of worms" and was subsequently sidelined from her duties, adding to her grievances.

Kelly, now 30, has had a turbulent career. After being dismissed from Clemson, he revived his career at East Mississippi Community College and then Ole Miss, only to face setbacks due to off-field issues. His tenure with the Denver Broncos ended following a 2018 arrest, after which he had brief stints with other teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, before joining the Argonauts.

The lawsuit alleges violations of Ontario's Human Rights Code by both Kelly and the Argonauts, painting a grim picture of the challenges within professional sports organizations in handling sensitive issues like harassment and gender-based violence.

Kelly's suspension serves as a reminder of the significant impact of player conduct on and off the field, resonating through the league and its audience.