After the CFL Players’ Association outlined their strike plans during a conference call on Thursday, I reached out to the CFL for their reaction.
Here’s the question I put to them:
“Does the CFL plan to hold training camps and start the season if members of the CFLPA are on strike?”
A league spokesperson said they’d get back to me and just a little over an hour later, they did. Here’s their response, in its entirety.
“We are working towards an agreement that is fair to our players and our clubs. Out of respect for that process, we have no further comment.”
This has been the league’s go-to response since negotiations began, so it’s hardly a surprise. There’s always the temptation to read a little too much into what is essentially a “no comment” but odds are this is just the CFL being consistent instead of camp or the season actually being in jeopardy. At this point, anyway.
But by stonewalling all queries on the subject, it’s pretty clear the CFL doesn’t give a crap about what the media or the fans think and are perfectly happy keeping everyone in the dark, for the moment. The league will start using media, through leaks or more traditional methods, as soon as they believe it’s in their best interest to do so and not one second before. You could argue it’s already started.
It’s a stark contrast to the union’s approach, who have held media availabilities after every bargaining session and put out a series of videos championing their perspective.
CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay was asked about the differences in approach on the conference call.
“I won’t speculate as to what their strategy is. What we’ve done as players is to be as open and transparent as possible and we said that from the start,” Ramsay said. “As we’ve talked as a membership over the last couple of years, you’ve seen our players engaging with fans in the off-season and that message hasn’t changed.”