CFL player: Diversity t-shirt made me cog in superficial, empty campaign

Editor’s note: A current CFL player reached out to 3DownNaton with concerns over what he believes are inequalities between the league and its domestic violence message. Out of concern for his job security, he has requested to remain anonymous.

As a CFL player, we recognize that along with playing football part of the job sees us serve as active ambassadors for the league. So, when a couple of weeks ago the diversity T-shirts were placed in our lockers it was our responsibility to wear them, and in turn, show the world the CFL’s ‘alleged’ stand on mutual respect and other core values which were implied under the “Diversity is Strength” campaign. A tremendous message in light of recent events (Charlottesville, VA), however, I was leery of how quickly something would happen that would expose the superficial nature with this campaign.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Art Briles case I can bring you up to speed quickly: investigations showed he failed to report several cases of rape, including gang rape, and sexual assault to the authorities, in turn, covering up for his players at Baylor University. Sickening. Think Penn State, but substitute children campers with female students. Disgusting. Wrong. Sad.

Clearly, this is someone any organization needs to avoid. Oh, and did I mention he has no CFL experience? No, seriously. None. This move makes as much sense from a football perspective as it does from a public image one.

The CFL knew about this beforehand and failed to jump in front of it with a message, or, veto-power nixing the hire. Barry’s, a local jeweller in the Hamilton area, was more proactive on this than the CFL and our new commissioner. Wonderful.

Kudos to Barry’s though. Fantastic idea and better message.

The league has turned away the likes of Greg Hardy and Justin Cox recently for domestic abuse charges and allegations, yet they’ll do nothing and allow the hiring of a coach with this on record. Quite the dichotomy.

I was fearful that my wearing of the diversity T-shirt made me a cog in a superficial, empty campaign. Turns out it took only two weeks for this prop to have that fear validated.