It has been about four months since the coronavirus pandemic flipped our world upside down and while some businesses and professional sports leagues have managed to reopen, the Canadian Football League still hasn’t figured it out.
The league, and more specifically commissioner Randy Ambrosie, has fumbled the ball on more than one occasion over the last handful of months as it tries to piece together a 2020 season.
To recap, Ambrosie approached the House of Commons standing committee on finance in April in an effort to secure a $150-million bailout should the season be scrapped by COVID-19 and was heavily criticized for presenting the plan without any Players’ Association representation by his side.
Ambrosie appeared before the Ontario government’s standing committee on finance in June, again without any players present, and was short on details when answering questions from politicians.
That very same day, Ambrosie issued a statement that began with “We are in this together,” a proclamation that left many players upset at being shut out of the restart process even as the league and the player’s union began negotiating a revised collective bargaining agreement to allow for an abbreviated season.
Want to thank all The @CFL Players who joined our townhall meeting today (over 400 members). Lots of great question as we work through these uncertain times. We will continue to work and advocate on behalf of all our members. #CFLPA
— Solomon Elimimian (@SolomonE56) July 27, 2020
After meeting with Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault and provincial sport ministers, the league submitted a revised financial aid plan last month, totalling $42.5 million, to put on a shortened season that would start in September.
The CFL has also made plans for a six-game regular season in which all but one club would make the playoffs and for it all to be held in Winnipeg and set a self-imposed deadline of July 23 to strike a deal with the Players’ Association.
That deadline was extended by 24 hours but expired without an announcement, and another so-called drop-dead date came and went on July 31 with the league issuing a statement, saying that it was still trying to “determine what is best for the CFL in 2020 and for our long-term future.”
Yet, a day earlier, Finland’s football league shared a video on its Instagram account from Ambrosie who wished the league good luck as it restarted its season.
View this post on Instagram
CFL:n komissionääri Randy Amrosie lähetti tervehdyksensa eiliseen Vaahteraliigan avaukseen. Tänään on jännittävä päivä CFL:n tulevan kauden osalta. Päätös kohtalosta on luvattu heinäkuun viimeiselle 🏈🇫🇮🍁🇨🇦🏈 #jefu #jenkkifutis #amerikkalainenjalkapallo #vaahteraliiga @cfl @afi_review @ifafmedia #sajl #americanfootballfinland #canadianfootball #americanfootball #americanfootballeurope
While being silent about the current state of talks to restart the CFL season, thus leaving hundreds of his own players in the dark about what is — if anything — happening in 2020, it was a bad look in what has been a bad year for the commissioner.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.
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