CFLPA investigating claims by players who say they had NFL side-deals

The Canadian Football League Players’ Association says it is investigating claims made by players that side-deals were in place to pursue NFL opportunities.

The statement, issued by the CFLPA on Thursday, doesn’t name specific players but Toronto Argonauts running back James Wilder Jr. and defensive end Victor Butler have both claimed the team promised them the chance to chase their NFL  dreams after the first season of their two-year entry-level deals, only to renege on those commitments.

“We are aware of the concerns made public by members of our association, and we take them very seriously. We are investigating the circumstances as well as the discussions referenced by the players as they relate to their contracts or any other agreements that may have been in place. Once we are satisfied with the results of the investigation, we will meet with the Commissioner and League office to discuss next steps,” said Brian Ramsay, the CFLPA’s executive director.

“Unlike our players, CFL coaches and management have the benefit of both guaranteed contracts while also being able to seek other opportunities in either the NFL or college, despite having active contracts with the CFL. The CFLPA, as well as our membership, are distressed with this continuing double standard as it relates to how the rules and agreements within our League are applied. We have brought these concerns to the CFL and will ensure that a fair and positive action can be taken to the satisfaction of our membership.”