If the CFL wants to run on a deficit, ‘that’s their problem’: Alouettes’ John Bowman

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Veteran Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman John Bowman isn’t about to tell the Canadian Football League how to run its business.

During commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s plea to the Canadian government for up to $150 million in coronavirus financial aid, he revealed collectively CFL teams lose between $10 and $20 million dollars per seasonIf the league keeps its books in the red, that shouldn’t affect the players, according to Bowman.

“It’s the economics of how they work. This is their business. This is how they want to run it, on a deficit. That’s their problem. That’s not the players’ issue. We don’t have control over how they spend the money,” Bowman told Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky.

“They wonder why CFL teams and the CFL as a brand hasn’t grown in 107 years? Times have changed, but they haven’t. We know why, as an executive, teams are still valued at the same rate as 20 years ago. They don’t want to change. That’s on them.”

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. 

“Nothing’s off the table if they want to change the CBA. We want everyone to know the players want to play. If there’s no season this year, next season also will be in jeopardy. And the CFL could be in jeopardy,” Bowman said.

If there is no season in 2020, it’s estimated the CFL could lose approximately $100 million. On Thursday, June 11, CFL Players’ Association executive director Brian Ramsay called out commissioner Randy Ambrosie for not receiving concrete ideas regarding a collective agreement or about opportunities to get on the field this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It can work. It can happen, but we’re not at that level. We want to return in a safe and healthy environment, with a plan that focuses on not only prevention but aftercare and togetherness. But we don’t feel like we’re ever part of their plan,” Bowman said.

It’s clear Bowman, the CFLPA vice president, feels some type of way about the current dynamic with the league.