Sometimes, the CFL is easy to love.
Consider these three stories from across the league, all of which feature teams or players doing cool things for fans of the community.
Let’s start in Saskatchewan, where radio play-by-play man and CFL conspiracy theorist Rod Pederesen brings us this heart-warming tale…
** It should be noted that on Labour Day Classic weekend, a down-on-their-luck Regina family was in the Rider ticket office hoping to purchase tickets to the big game. To their dismay, the tickets were simply too expensive. They were heartbroken.
Jonathan Newsome happened to be walking through the ticket office at the very same time. Witnessing the situation first hand, Newsome pulled out his wallet and plopped down enough money to buy tickets for the family at $100 each.
The family was in tears with gratitude.
The story got Newsome plenty of love from Rider fans on Twitter – and they’re a pretty grumpy bunch right now – and he responded with a Tweet of his own.
Thanks y’all. I just couldn’t let the lady and her daughter leave without those tickets. It was only right. When your blessed, bless others
— Jonathan Newsome (@JNEW_11) September 12, 2016
The second story comes from Winnipeg and while it highlights the boorishness of some CFL fans – it features a nine-year-old getting beer dumped on him at the Banjo Bowl because he was wearing a green sweatshirt over his Bomber jersey – the response from the team was pretty great.
Wade Miller, Bombers president and CEO, spoke with Emond Monday morning, the football club said in an email.
“The organization delivered a package from the Bomber Store for the family and is working to bring them back to a game as our guests to show them a much better experience, including a post-game meeting with Bomber players,” the statement read. “We consistently strive to provide all of our great fans the best game day experience possible, and incidents like these are extremely disappointing, and do not represent the majority of our fan base.”
Bad fan behaviour happens all over CFL and while it would be nice to have stadium security crack down on stuff like this, including ejections and consequences from the team, the Bombers may very well turn a bad experience into a one that will make this kid a fan for the rest of his life.
Finally, this story arrives via an Arash Madani re-Tweet.
Progressive move. Good for the Alouettes, Lions and CFL for making this such a priority. https://t.co/oMFb1QCraA
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) September 12, 2016
The CFL took a little heat earlier this month when ESPN reported that Johnny Manziel, who is currently facing a domestic abuse charge, would be welcome to play in Canada (something the league subsequently denied.) It created quite the mess for the CFL.
But the league’s domestic violence policy, which took more than a year to develop, doesn’t address the issue of players with a history of domestic violence wanting to enter the CFL (Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Manziel.) Instead, if focuses largely on existing players and employees.
Under the policy, every player and team employee must undergo mandatory training on preventing domestic violence. A player who has undergone the training must be present at every session and Lumbala is a francophone player who qualifies.
The league’s policy isn’t perfect but they are clearly putting significant resources toward an important issue. As Madani says, good on the teams and the CFL for making this a priority.