A potential interprovincial football incident between Manitoba and Saskatchewan has been nipped in the bud.
It all started on Monday night when Saskatchewan's premier, Mr. Brad Wall himself, Tweeted that the ball Riders defensive end David Lee used to score his first career touchdown was still in Winnipeg.
"So the football that @davidlee_91 used to score his TD vs. @WPG_bluebombers is still there. Will they bring to Labour Day? #freeDavidsBall," Wall wrote on his timeline.
The premier has more than 28,000 followers and is a big Rider fan, so it didn't take long for the #freeDavidsBall hash tag to catch fire. Wall's next eight Tweets were all related to Lee's touchdown and the fact he didn't have the football, which he scooped up and took to the house when Drew Willy fumbled deep in Winnipeg's zone on Aug. 7.
There is a bit of confusion this season when it comes to who gets to keep which footballs, however. Each team gets to supply its own footballs, so when the defence intercepts one or recovers a fumble, they can't just take it back to their bench. They have to return it to the opposing team or take a penalty if they fire the pigskin into the crowd.
If a defensive player wants to keep the ball after scoring a touchdown, for instance, he or his team has to pay the opponent the value of the pigskin. Apparently no arrangements between the teams' equipment personnel were made in this case, so the ball just would have gone back into Winnipeg's bag of balls.
"He never, that I saw, kept the ball," Bombers equipment manager Brad Fotty said Tuesday. "We never once asked for it back. At half-time I never heard from their equipment guys or anybody.
"I've worked with Corey (Chamblin), Brendan (Taman), Bobby Dyce "¦ not a single person has asked me about this mysterious ball. If the kid wants one, we'll send him one. Absolutely. I'll bring it when we come out there."
Late Tuesday night, Riders GM Brendan Taman said a deal has been worked out between Fotty and Riders equipment manager Gordon Gilroy to get Lee his ball.