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Ex-coach in Canadian Football League alleges harassment by Argonauts QB Kelly, wrongful dismissal

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TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian Football League is investigating allegations made by a former Toronto Argonauts strength and conditioning coach who alleges to have been wrongfully dismissed after being harassed by quarterback Chad Kelly, the league announced Wednesday.

The league said it has opened the investigation in accordance with its gender-based violence policy.

The coach filed a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last week alleging a pattern of harassment by Kelly that began with unwanted romantic advances and escalated into instances of threatening language.

The coach said the club did not act when told of Kelly’s behavior and accused assistant general manager John Murphy of saying the report “opened a can of worms that didn’t need to be opened.”

The Argonauts said in a statement the club will cooperate with the CFL’s investigation. An Argonauts spokesman referred The Associated Press to the team statement when asked if Kelly was available for comment. Kelly’s agent, Chris Lambiris, said neither he nor Kelly could comment.

“The Toronto Argonauts share the CFL’s commitment to providing healthy and positive work environments,” the team statement reads. “The organization will reserve any further comment until the conclusion of the league’s investigation.”

The CFL said it is taking the allegations “very seriously.”

Kelly denied the accusations in a statement emailed to the AP on Friday.

“I am shocked by the allegations which have been made against me. I absolutely deny these events and intend to vigorously defend myself and will be seeking the dismissal of the action,” Kelly said in the statement.

The coach said they were told Jan. 29 that their contract would not be renewed. The coach is seeking $80,000 from Kelly and a total of $85,714 from the Argonauts.

The AP does not identify alleged victims of sexual harassment unless they grant permission to be named.

Kelly, named the CFL’s most outstanding player last season, played college football at Clemson and Mississippi. He is the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and was the final pick of the 2017 NFL draft.

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports

The Associated Press

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