Arland Bruce files grievance against CFL, five teams

With his legal options exhausted, former CFL player Arland Bruce has filed a grievance against the league and all five teams he played for during his 14-year career, according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen.

From the story:

Bruce, 40, is seeking compensation for loss of past and future wages, plus ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs.

The grievance was filed electronically on Thursday with the CFL, the CFL Players Relations Committee, the B.C. Lions, Montreal Alouettes, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Bruce’s lawyer, Robyn Wishart of Vancouver, said there had been no response as of Friday afternoon.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in March that it would not hear Bruce’s case as he attempted to sue the league over concussion trauma. Two lower courts in British Columbia had previously dismissed the suit, saying unionized employees must use labour arbitration – not the courts – to resolve disputes that arise from their collective agreement.

Bruce started in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2001 and finished his career in 2014 as a member of the Montreal Alouettes after stints with the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and B.C. Lions.

He argued that he sustained “permanent and disabling” repetitive head trauma as a player. In court documents, Bruce says he continues to suffer post-concussive symptoms, including depression, paranoia, delusions and other medical issues.

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, the Canadian Football League Players’ Association filed a grievance against the CFL and all nine member clubs alleging that the league and its teams “have failed and continue to fail” to protect players from brain injuries and concussions.

The CFLPA is asking the arbitrator to “fully compensate” injured players, implement policies and rule changes to reduce injury and seek coverage under provincial workers’ compensation plans.

– with files from CP

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30 Comments on Arland Bruce files grievance against CFL, five teams

  1. CFL family // April 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm //

    I’d love to know what estimated value Arland Bruce has placed on his past and future earnings

  2. Game Day // April 7, 2018 at 4:28 pm //

    This game of football is a violent sport. Any player who thinks he will avoid injury through the CFLPA is delusional. Each team supplies a certain amount of liability insurance and that covers death and mental dismemberment. Every player knows the liability he himself faces regarding his individual health and therefore after signing a waiver as part of their contract exonerates the team. It then becomes a moral issue.

    • But wouldn’t that be the same in any job? if you are a construction worker you know that there is a possibility that you could be injured on the job. At least construction workers can claim workers comp. even though Bruce collected a salary in Canada and paid taxes he is not entitled to any compensation if he was injured.

  3. Rob Juliusson // April 7, 2018 at 4:30 pm //

    I have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Bruce recently. We watched and cheered him for entertaining us as fans. He deserves far better than his present job provides. He gave us his all for years. Consider having to live with the damage that has occurred for 40 more years.

    • I cannot understand why players want compensation for playing a game they weren’t forced to partake in. It smacks of greed. I’m sorry for his plight but He should have known the risks going in. If he didn’t he should have purchased personal liability insurance when he signed his first contract. The insurance company would have made him well aware of the risk and charged him accordingly for the policy.

      • Greed? seriously? None of us weren’t forced to partake in our jobs we elected to do it, but if we got injured we are entitled to workers compensation.
        By your theory anyone that claims Workers Comp is greedy?
        He was employed in Canada and paid taxes to the Canadian government yet he can’t get any compensation!! Any worker in Canada that pays taxes is entitled to it.

  4. Bruce is such a loser. Just get lost and move on with your life. Work for your $$$ like the rest of us instead of just suing anyone you can. Absolutely pathetic man

    • Yes but he did work, maybe not like the rest of us but harder over 14 years and he paid taxes but no compensation at all.
      I say good for Arland and I hope he gets something. Maybe this will change the rules for compensation, maybe the CFL will wake up and realize that players are people too.
      If he was good enough to stick around for 14 years he should get some compensation.

    • He BC – he did work hard for his $$$ a lot harder than you. He probably paid more in taxes in the 14 seasons than you ever will!!
      You are probably one of these guys that would get a little injury on the job and then get Workers Compensation. Bruce gets nothin

      • brian johnson // April 8, 2018 at 11:01 am //

        And that is what Bruce is worth nothing!!
        Big Baby. Tried everything to get more money.
        Ever player that ever played has the same case as Bruce.
        And he never made big money in CFL. Now broke
        again.

  5. Donny Football // April 7, 2018 at 5:11 pm //

    Is Bruce going after the US colleges he played for as well? High School? The Chiefs and 49ers?

    • NO because he didn’t get paid by them.
      He is going after the teams and the league that paid him to entertain. As a Canadian taxpayer he should be entitled to something too.

  6. Steve Borsa // April 7, 2018 at 5:48 pm //

    Feel for Bruce. Very sensitive issue. But there are many military vets who fought Iraq etc with PTSD . Our govt has let them down with not much compensation, Recall some Esks players who suffered concussions but got nothing. Perhaps others from CFL. Best luck Bruce.

  7. Yes, players know the risk NOW. The leagues bear some responsibility, because, in the past, they downplayed risk. Furthermore, players were coached to use their head/helmets as a battering ram…in fact, leading tackles with the head! HOW STUPID! In Junior B hockey, after getting my bell rung, I was given a whiff of smelling salts, and persuaded to keep playing. Ditto in high school football. And, just to emphasize the ignorance of the day, players were not allowed to drink water. If you were really thirsty, you were allowed to take a mouthful of water, but you would have to spit it out. I almost got benched once for swallowing the water, but he needed me to play in that playoff game. A true monument to IGNORANCE!

    • This … so many ridiculous and ill-informed posts on here. Thank you for pointing what should be the obvious. Pro sports leagues have never taken athlete safety seriously and have always had to be dragged into making the most basic adjustments. Until enough players died from dehydration, what exactly did football coaches do? Ever since Ed Jovanovski ended Adam Deadmarsh’s career with one punch, fighting should have outlawed in hockey … yet the NHL and its sycophant leagues (the AHL and CHL) continue to allow it. The CFL is no different … it doesn’t care about players once they’ve been used up and there’s no doubt they’ve routinely manipulated information about the risks of playing football to suit their business needs.

      I had no sympathy for the lawsuit because it was plainly wrong based on Canadian law. I have every sympathy for Arland Bruce and hope his grievance succeeds. And I don’t care if the CFL goes broke in the process … that’s just karma.

      • I was all set to post something about knowing the risks and it’s what he signed up for, blah blah…

        But reading what DAKAZ and Quint wrote changed my mind, and I think they are right. The league (all leagues) should bear responsibility to protect and provide for their injured players. These people are making a choice to play, and it’s something they love, but it’s also a business. A fact that we’re often explicitly reminded of when players are released for “business reasons” and coaches and GMs say exactly that.

        I don’t agree that the pro football profession is akin to other jobs that carry danger or risk (construction, mining, forestry, certain manufacturing jobs, etc.) since people in those industries don’t go to work *expecting* to be hit every day. So the “Bruce paid his taxes” and deserves workers’ comp argument doesn’t work for me.

        But leagues and teams make money off of their players, sometimes lots of it. The business side of things is always going to be hard for players who are no longer wanted, but it should be less cruel to those who have suffered for their craft and their team’s success.

  8. Pennyrocker // April 7, 2018 at 5:58 pm //

    He was an independent player with a contract agreement. He was paid good money for the work he did on the field of football.

    With his work there were big risks of injuries therefore at the time compensated well for his risks.

    Now he is suffering from the toll of his work in which he fully agreed to preform he wants more money.

    How can you justify an agreement you signed to work as a football player and the risks you agreed to take when signing a contract.

  9. Game Day // April 7, 2018 at 6:09 pm //

    Bruce was a self employed contract worker. You cannot get Workers Compensation. He knew the risk.

  10. I sympathize with these players but how do they prove that injuries in the CFL are solely responsible for his current situation?
    My guess is CFL lawyers would argue that all players has been subject to head trauma from Pop Warner, college to pro ball.

  11. I can’t understand why a “better” helmet can’t be designed. If, for example the helmet dimensions were increased by say 1″ in height and depth and 2″ in side width, surly there could be shock absorbing padding designed that would eliminate 90% of all the present concussion injuries. Football would still be a very violent game but there would be less chance of head injuries.

  12. Edward Leslie // April 8, 2018 at 12:29 am //

    Wayne, you’re right. I mentioned something similiar in a previous post too.
    They have these newer helmets now, which have holes and vent-type things. They are supposed to be big improvements. But it’s too soon to judge how successful that they are at preventing concussions.

    As for Arland Bruce, I wish him all the best. He was a hell of a receiver. Very much like Duron Carter now, some of his non-football actions seemed to over shadow his football accomplishments: Putting on a Spiderman mask and pretending he was dead, then saying it was a “tribute to Michael Jackson”; and making homophobic remarks about Michael Sam. But that shouldn’t take away from his great play.

  13. Edward Leslie // April 8, 2018 at 4:54 am //

    Quint: I agree that change comes too slowly. Preventable injuries need to be… prevented. The players’ safety is paramount.
    But having said that, there are dangers in a lot of sporting endeavours. Football, Hockey, Boxing, Wrestling, Rugby, Car racing, Horse racing, Mountain climbing, Sky diving, and many others.
    If they got rid of all the dangerous sports, what could we watch? Basketball, Soccer, Golf, Volleyball,Tennis and Figure skating. That would be both cruel and boring!

    As for your remarks about hockey fighting, there’s nothing wrong with a good hockey fight. The percentage of serious injuries resulting from fights is very very small. And, as politically incorrect as it might be to point out, how many fans get up and leave in disgust when theres a fight? Zero.
    Gary Bettman has turned the NHL into basketball on ice to appease Americans who nothing about hockey. Fighting is part of the game, and it would be nice to see MORE of it. Maybe a few good old bench clearing brawls too. That would make the ghosts of Freddy Shero and Eddie Shore smile!

    • Mr. Leslie, usually, I agree with your balanced, reasonable blogs. This one is an exception. Years ago, I, too, considered that Don “Cherry-sanctioned” fights were OK because the fear of retaliation protected the stars, and reduced stick work…blah, blah, blah. I have since made a 180 degree turn. Why? Too many athletes, in later life, can’t remember their own name, worse yet, some have taken their own life, due to brain trauma.
      One head trauma is one too many. As for you premise: what would we watch? I take particular umbrage with that statement. Do we need to be entertained at ALL COST, even the cost of young lives? I am sure the ancient Romans asked the same question, when considering banning lions from killing Christians in the arenas, or gladiatorial fights where the loser lost his life. Society claims to be more civilized now, but they would have a hard time proving that case.
      Tell the spouse, or other loved ones, of a sports victim, family and friends: oh well, the percentage of injuries is small. For them, the percentage is 100.
      We are still reeling from the bus carnage. That was an accident: human error. It is not at all the same as preventable injury. DOZENS of HIGH SCHOOL football players alone die…about 15 every two years…on the field or after the game. But, because they didn’t die all in one place, at one time, society acknowledges the tragedy, eyes glaze over, and life goes on…but, not for the victims. Further on what would we watch: what is the best hockey on earth? Easy, unanimous answer: Olympics….where fighting is banned. I rest my case! And now I should rest my weary carcass too, it is 4:40 AM.

  14. Whether we like Arland Bruce or not is irrelevant. Some of the comments in here are seemingly borne out of dislike for the man and that’s unreasonable. Anyone injured on the job (long term or short term) is entitled to some sort of compensation, whether that be extended healthcare insurance or whatever. Even as an independent contractor he can have insurance. Question is: Did he? Does the CFL have insurance for this type of thing? It isn’t rocket science. The CFL is a large enough entity and capable enough to implement mandatory insurance policies that include coverage. Yes, it will be costly, but don’t forget not everyone will get a head injury. The majority don’t.

  15. Pennyrocker // April 8, 2018 at 11:35 am //

    Look at it this way you hire a private contractor to build your home and landscape your property. The place looks great. A few years later the property looks awesome. The contractor comes back and wants more money. Do you pay him the money he is now asking.

  16. Hope things work out for Arland. He deserves healthcare at the very least due to his CFL work related injury. For him to be denied this is simply WRONG. Just ask the NFL guys who won a court case to get it. Way to many have killed themselves or went wako in some way. Best of luck to him to getting ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION beyond the healthcare issue. He would have to prove his career ended early because of his CTE but 14 years was a good long career for most pro football players.

  17. Sorry, if this is a repeat, but I don’t see my original reply.
    Mr. Leslie, usually, I agree with your balanced, reasonable blogs. This one is an exception. Years ago, I, too, considered that Don “Cherry-sanctioned” fights were OK because the fear of retaliation protected the stars, and reduced stick work…blah, blah, blah. I have since made a 180 degree turn. Why? Too many athletes, in later life, can’t remember their own name, worse yet, some have taken their own life, due to brain trauma.
    One head trauma is one too many. As for you premise: what would we watch? I take particular umbrage with that statement. Do we need to be entertained at ALL COST, even the cost of young lives? I am sure the ancient Romans asked the same question, when considering banning lions from killing Christians in the arenas, or gladiatorial fights where the loser lost his life. Society claims to be more civilized now, but they would have a hard time proving that case.
    Tell the spouse, or other loved ones, of a sports victim, family and friends: oh well, the percentage of injuries is small. For them, the percentage is 100.
    We are still reeling from the bus carnage. That was an accident: human error. It is not at all the same as preventable injury. DOZENS of HIGH SCHOOL football players alone die…about 15 every two years…on the field or after the game. But, because they didn’t die all in one place, at one time, society acknowledges the tragedy, eyes glaze over, and life goes on…but, not for the victims. Further on what would we watch: what is the best hockey on earth? Easy, unanimous answer: Olympics….where fighting is banned. I rest my case! And now I should rest my weary carcass too, it is 4:40 AM.

  18. Lets all sit at home wrapped in bubble wrap. We will live longer. But why was bruce still trying to get on a team while he was suing the league?

  19. Edward Leslie // April 9, 2018 at 11:51 pm //

    DAKAZ: Sometimes circumstantial evidence leads to conclusions that are wrong.
    It’s true that a few tough guy hockey players’ lives ended tragically young. Guys like Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien. But do we know FOR SURE that fighting is totally responsible? Maybe it was the medication that they took? Those commercials for pharmaceutical products spend half the time talking about the “possible side effects”.
    It might just have been a coincidence too.
    Tough dudes from the past like Dave Schultz, Clark Gillies, Tiger Williams, Dave Semenko, Tim Hunter, Joey Kocur, Ted Green, Bob Kelly and many others
    fought often, but didn’t commit suicide.

    Football definitely needs to make changes to limit concussions. Kids shouldn’t even be allowed to play football until they are in high school.
    In the pros, they should make better helmets and have a zero tolerance towards head shots.
    Randy Ambrosie made a good move to get rid of contact practices. But why no suspensions for vicious fouls? I want to see players supended for deliberate head shots on helpless quarterbacks in 2018.

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