Ottawa Redblacks Canadian receiver Brad Sinopoli views the hub city concept as a difficult proposition for players across the CFL.
The league has discussed the idea of using two cities, Winnipeg and Regina, as spots to create bubbles for a potentially safer playing environment amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sinopili has a new perspective on being isolated after his wife Laura gave birth to son James on March 24.
“It would be very, very tough. Once you go, you’re there and it’s not like your family can come and visit. Or, ‘Hey, I got time on a bye week, let’s get together.’ That’s not the scenario, if you’re there then that’s it,” Sinopoli said on TSN 1200 radio in Ottawa.
“Some guys will say Americans have to leave home, come up here and be away from their family, but at the same time they have the option that if their family can come up here, that’s a possibility. Whereas if we’re isolated there’s no choice you’re just by yourself.”
Hub cities continue to be hot topics among the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League as North American pro sports leagues try to figure out the best way to possibly hold games during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The NHL is planning a 24-team straight to playoffs return in two hub cities.
“If you’re in a different league and guys are going to make $6 or $8 million, let’s just deal with it for those months, is that worth it because it’s life-changing money? Maybe,” Sinopoli said.
“That’s not the scenario for us in this league. Maybe some guys will question well would that be worth it? And also is it still worth the risk if we still have to all be quarantined, is the risk still worth it? Those are questions that I think a lot of guys are thinking about.”
For any sports including the CFL to play in a hub city model, strict guidelines would have to be followed. According to Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani: What got the CFL committee’s interest spiked was Dr. Lawrence Steinman’s suggestion of a particular antibody test that is FDA-registered and takes only 15 minutes to provide a result.
“There’s still a great deal of uncertainty. That would be a scenario that would be really tough to accept,” Sinopoli said.
“Definitely guys need money and that’s another scenario where you’re going to do anything you need to do to get paid.”
The COVID-19 crisis has put the league on pause and the earliest the CFL might return to play – for a shortened but meaningful season – is September due to COVID-19. The CFL sent a memo to teams on a first and very limited phase of a return to training, allowing the reopening of facilities across Canada.
“People want sports back. We’re not sitting here hoping that someone going to their office is on TV so that we can all enjoy it,” Sinopoli said.
“We’re in a unique situation because people want sports back.”