What not to wear: CFL puts fashion ahead of football

How about that? The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ new jerseys are green! Winnipeg Blue Bombers? Blue. Ottawa RedBlacks? Red and black.

Suddenly everyone is a fashion critic, deciding what’s good and bad about the new CFL jerseys unveiled by adidas. Debates are raging about the hashtag on Ottawa’s pants, that the Edmonton Eskimos maintained their status quo and the logo on Saskatchewan’s helmets is bigger, but without silver and black highlights.

Come off it!

Of course it’s merchandising, but are the jerseys really more important than the players?

The CFL draft occurred two days earlier and caused barely a ripple on social media. Two hours before the draft, the CFL issued a press release about the upcoming jersey presentation, which reinforced the social irrelevance of the college draft.

Sorry. According to the CFL’s director of communications, Paulo Senra, it was a media advisory about all the adidas merchandise that would soon be available for sale.

Only in the CFL are new jerseys sexier than new players.

Does it really matter that quarterback Darian Durant isn’t a big fan of Saskatchewan’s all-green uniforms? Does Kent Austin’s opinion about the Hamilton Tiger-Cats new silks determine how his team will perform under his tutelage this season? Are we all tremendously grateful that Winnipeg has returned its colours to a more traditional, beautiful blue?

It’s actually incredibly stupid that four CFL teams won’t have players’ numbers on their sleeves or shoulders. In this day and age, in an era when video reviews and player identification are the essence of the game, anything that makes it harder for fans and play-by-play commentators is a horrible oversight. That has to change back, not for traditions’ sake, but for logical reasons.

The uniforms will change again, too. Maybe another unveiling will occur when the CFL again changes its corporate sponsors. The players also change.

Seeing former Rider slotback Weston Dressler in Blue Bombers colours was disconcerting. Justin Cappiciotti, formerly of the RedBlacks, looked different in Rider green. It’s strange seeing Chad Owens, formerly of the Toronto Argonauts, in Tiger-Cats black.

The young man who designed the B.C. Lions new uniforms — admittedly the most radically changed of the nine teams‘ — was interviewed about his ideas on the team’s website. Forgive all the sarcasm, but real fans should be more interested in Wally Buono’s analysis of his roster than about varying shades of burnt orange.

Hurray for the CFL for its marketing hype. Just remember that the players inside the jerseys are more important than the colour of the jerseys. Now let’s talk about football.

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