Monopoly: CFL edition — league does not pass go, does not collect Argo fines

Photo courtesy: Hasbro

I don’t know what the game of Monopoly was like in your house growing up — in mine, we played by the rules.

Free Parking didn’t have extra money on it, and when there were no houses left, you couldn’t buy a house. The rules were agreed upon in advance, printed on paper, and they were sacrosanct.

Little did I know that my family would set a standard that a professional sports league would fail to live up to. The CFL has printed their rules on paper, but they have apparently decided to slip that extra $500 in the Free Parking kitty anyway.

3DownNation insider Justin Dunk broke the news that the Toronto Argonauts went over the salary cap in 2019. Astute readers of this space will remember that we here at 3DownNation told you in February that commissioner Randy Ambrosie confirmed at least one club had gone over the cap, but the league would not confirm it at that time.

Dunk’s report also stated that the Argos wouldn’t be fined for the transgression because of the financial hardships that exist due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To put it plainly, I call bullsh*t.

The current CFL salary management system calls for a dollar-for-dollar fine up to $99,999 and, once you go over $100,000, a draft pick is also forfeited. As the news did not include a draft pick, this means the transgression and resulting fine would be less than a total of $100,000.

MLSE is worth billions of dollars; so why are they off the hook?

COVID-19 isn’t responsible for the overspending that occurred last season.

Jim Popp is.

Isn’t it enough that the league has already awarded them two extra territorial picks over the last two years for being bad? At what point do we stop allowing the Argos a competitive advantage?

I imagine the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ management team has to be pretty choked with the idea of how many extra Grey Cup hats they had to sell when they went over in both 2009 and 2013.

How many extra Rum Hut pours were needed in Winnipeg in 2010 to cover their fines?

Those are two community-owned clubs that turn a profit year after year, providing for the health of the league while billionaires escape penalties.

At the very least, the CFL could have announced the fine and said that the payment be deferred a year due to the coronavirus. If they said that, I don’t even start writing. I recognize that in troubled times, extraordinary measures need to be taken and I agree with that common sense position.

However, instead they chose to do what it seems like they always do when the topic of the Argos come up: capitulate and allow special treatment to a franchise that doesn’t need it and hasn’t earned it.

The Argos aren’t some sad sack club whose owner empties out his wallet every week to make payroll and it is high time the CFL acts like it.

They were hoping to pass Go, but landed on Luxury Tax instead. Circumstance shouldn’t dictate that the $75 isn’t due.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.