CFLPA members show unity on Labour Day with player handshakes on field before Saskatchewan Roughriders-Winnipeg Blue Bombers game in Regina; CFLPA wants safety changes

TORONTO – The Canadian Football League Players’ Association says players from opposing teams in the Saskatchewan Roughriders-Winnipeg Blue Bombers game in Regina on Sunday showed unity on Labour Day with handshakes on the field before play started.

On Sunday players from the Riders and Bombers met at mid-field and shook hands with the player across from them while exchanging “Happy Labour Day” greetings before returning to their respective team sides.

CFLPA President Jeff Keeping, former Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman, said the simple gesture shows player solidarity on Labour Day and a strong commitment to unity on the key issue of player safety improvements.

“Our players are tough competitors from kickoff until the final whistle blows but when we are off the field we are all brothers who share the same concerns for our safety.” Keeping said. “New research highlights the continual need for discussions around player safety and rehabilitation.”

CFLPA Executive Director Brian Ramsay said players were enthusiastic about the idea of a public display of unity when approached by the CFLPA.

“The CFLPA is working hard for safety and other important changes that will not only benefit the players but the game – and our members wanted a simple, polite and powerful way to show our solidarity to fans and the public,” said Ramsay.

Ramsay said the CFLPA is fighting for the CFL to reduce contact during practices to protect players from brain injuries and improve player safety during games, as well as to remove a 12-month maximum rehabilitation time for injured players because in some cases it is insufficient for recovery.

The CFLPA launched #1PlayAway campaign earlier this year, submitted a Workers’ Compensation Board application for player coverage to the Alberta government and met with federal and several provincial sports ministers about the rehabilitation issue.

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