The Northern Elite Football League has banned for life two players from the Twin Ports-based Lake Superior Rage semi-pro team following a brawl during the team's game in Eau Claire last weekend.
According to a news release from the league, one other Rage player and three players from the Eau Claire Crush have been suspended for three games after the fight that occurred near the end of Saturday's game. In addition, the league has placed the Rage franchise in "bad standing," which "means they are subject to additional end-of-season review to maintain status within the league; they lose all voting rights in league matters for the duration of being in bad standing; and for any postseason games, their opponents can decide to have home field in games in which the Rage would be the higher playoff seed," according to the news release.
The Rage are 7-0 and were assured of being in line to host at least one playoff game this season. Now, their opponent will have the option to claim home field for that game.
"The actions the league took in response to this incident are unprecedented and we needed to make a decision that upheld our league's core belief that the NEFL provides fun, family friendly entertainment," NEFL President Nicole Isaac said in a news release. "I believe the league made huge strides with the decisions handed down tonight, as we understand that the embarrassment caused by this and several other incidents this season needed to stop to ensure the future viability of the league."
Isaac identified the two players banned for life from the NEFL as Rage players Lashawn Bullock and Ryan Rodriguez. The Rage player with the three-game suspension is John Davis.
Isaac told the News Tribune today that "the NEFL holds the Rage in high regard. They have in past years done nothing but helped to improve this league." But in light of prior incidents involving other league teams this season, "the NEFL board felt we had to put our foot down somewhere ... and it happened to fall on the Rage."
The brawl last weekend was the final straw after a string of previous incidents league-wide, Isaac said.
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