CFL speaks out: condemns racism, celebrates diversity

The Canadian Football League, commissioner and teams are speaking out against the death of George Floyd, which happened in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25.

White police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes while he was handcuffed and restrained on the ground. The 46-year-old black man told Chauvin repeatedly: “I can’t breathe.” However, the pleas were ignored by Chauvin and it resulted in Floyd losing his life.

Protests for equality have ensued around North America.

From the CFL:

Just as we celebrate diversity, we in the Canadian Football League condemn racism in all of its forms, silent and systemic or blatant and violent. In particular, no person should fear for his or her freedom, safety, or life because of the colour of his or her skin.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie:

As we watch events unfold in the U.S. this weekend, the CFL has issued a statement condemning racism. It’s also important to acknowledge that our country has its own problems with race and our league’s history is far from perfect, even if it is marked by many firsts for black athletes and coaches. I cannot pretend, coming from a place of privilege, to understand what it feels like for those whose lives are marked by the racism they must face every day. But I can stand with them. And I always will.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats:

Winnipeg Blue Bombers:

Ottawa Redblacks:

Montreal Alouettes:

The Montreal Alouettes’ heart is particularly with our American players and staff at this moment as we are both horrified and saddened by the ongoing events that are affecting our neighbours. The Alouettes have always believed that the diversity in our ranks has been a strong part of our DNA.

Racism doesn’t have its place in our society and we hope all efforts will be made to end racism . To our players, many of you are looked up to not only because of your skills, but because of your perseverance to succeed, your leadership and to do what’s right under pressure. There can be no more pressure in life, than what’s happening today. We need to lead the way and defeat racism.

Toronto Argonauts:

B.C. Lions:

Diversity is our Strength. In football and in life. On and off the field, we’re there for each other. And, in life, we must do the same. We embrace our collective diversity and stand in unity against all forms of racism.

Edmonton Eskimos:

Saskatchewan Roughriders:


Riders’ linebacker Solomon Elimimian delivers a personal story of racial profiling and encourages all CFL players to educate while creating positive change in society.

A number of CFL players (past and present) have also spoken out regarding the issue on social media. Below is a sampling of these messages, most of which came out early in the week.