If the CFL plays games in 2020, Canadian receiver Lemar Durant wants players to be paid like ‘professionals’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Veteran Canadian receiver Lemar Durant isn’t feeling the CFL’s hub city concept for potentially playing games amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Durant has been utilizing the reopening of the B.C. Lions facilities to prepare and stay ready for possibly returning to the field in 2020. The 27-year-old Vancouver native would accept a bubble environment if the league deems it’s the most plausible way for safe football.

“If that’s the only option, then I guess we gotta make it work. This is our job and this is what we came here to do, sometimes you gotta do some things you don’t want to do or don’t necessarily feel like doing. Ideally, I don’t want it, but if that’s the only option, then I’m in,” Durant told TSN.

The CFL and CFLPA have started collective bargaining negotiations on a COVID-19 recovery plan that will deal with 2021 and beyond while also addressing CBA amendments that may be required should there be a shortened season in 2020. The union sent a survey to its players which included questions about salary expectations. 

“Yeah, and it’s hard to say, there’s no specific number or anything I have in my head. It’s just in general you want to play so you know there’s going to be have to be some type of exceptions, and something that you’re going to have to sacrifice on some side of it,” Durant said.

Durant set career-highs with 57 receptions for 810 yards and five touchdowns during 15 games in 2019. He became one of quarterback Mike Reilly’s primary targets and earned a team nomination as Most Outstanding Canadian. The Lions rewarded Durant with a two-year contract extension through 2021 worth nearly $200,000 per season.

“It does get to a point where you’re like, ‘Hey, we still are professionals and we work hard to do this and I still feel like I gotta get paid what I’m worth,'” Durant said. “I think that they know that we feel this way and they’re going to try to do everything to make players feel like it’s worth playing for us.”