June 20, 2019
CFLPA responds to misleading statement by commissioner’s office citing sudden concern for player safety and questioning the rights of all CFL players
The Commissioner’s public attack on the process and the rights allotted to all CFL players, as mutually agreed to in the collective agreement, is both disappointing and unhelpful.
There were two players involved in a play on opening night. One player was injured and the other has since been assessed a two-game suspension. Both players have rights, and both are members of the CFL Players’ Association. Our commitment to player safety must be balanced by our duty to ensure every player receives fair representation when these situations happen. Generally, players have not been treated equally and therefore unfairly by the process the Commissioner currently follows in these instances.
The Commissioner’s gratuitous attack on the rights of players is an attempt to gain a public relations advantage during a difficult situation. Just like player safety, he says the right things in public but the League under his leadership acts quite differently when it comes to implementing change.
On multiple occasions, including our recent collective negotiations, we proposed the CFL adopt a system, currently used with success in the NFL, that would introduce fair and transparent protocols for players facing supplemental discipline. The process would be more equitable for players, streamline decisions and remove the subjective and inconsistent discipline in the hands of the Commissioner. This process would also provide a binding decision.
Our proposal was rejected by the CFL leaving the CFLPA to choose between its members, one injured and the other suspended.
Clearly, there is a need for improvements to the disciplinary process. Until the League is willing to work towards a solution, the CFLPA will fight for all of its members. We will continue to advance player safety measures and at the same time represent players whose discipline is inconsistent with past practice.
Our members expect no less.
We encourage the Commissioner to use this time to get serious about player safety and have productive discussions with us that are focused on designing a fair and transparent process that will deal with on field safety.
About the CFLPA
The Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA) is the union for professional football players in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Since 1965, the Association has worked to establish fair and reasonable working conditions while protecting the rights of all CFL players. In addition to negotiating and enforcing the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the CFLPA provides a variety of member services, builds corporate and community partnerships and works diligently for the betterment of its membership.
Jason Langvee, CFLPA Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-616-6865