Alouettes host powerful team meeting on race

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Sportsnet’s Arash Madani reports, the Montreal Alouettes gathered the entire team together virtually and engaged in a vital conversation on systemic racism.

The eye-opening piece from Madani provides a template for what teams across the league should be doing in the wake of the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests.

The meeting was led by quarterback Vernon Adams Jr, Canadian linebacker Henoc Muamba, and head coach Khari Jones. Each shared their powerful experiences enduring racism with employees from every department in the organization, from accounting to public relations.

The call was organized by Alouettes team president Mario Cecchini, who felt the need to walk the talk after walking in and speaking to the crowd at a local Black Lives Matter protest in Montreal. The forum provided an opportunity for listening and allowed staff members to learn about a different perspective.

An excerpt from Madani’s report:

“These are the very uncomfortable conversations we need to have,” Muamba told Sportsnet. “Hopefully people are willing to have the conversations. Hopefully we have actionable change. True, actionable change that goes beyond just the conversation.”

Cecchini has committed to expanding diversity in the Montreal administration and front office. Now he must follow through, but he is not alone as Madani eloquently points out.

“Locker rooms have all shapes and colours and backgrounds, but employees on the administration side are predominantly white. Look no further than the head office of the league he plays in. While the CFL has a ‘Diversity Is Strength’ marketing campaign, six of the seven executives at headquarters are men and only one of the seven is someone of colour. All nine of the team presidents across the country are white males.”

The CFL has always patterned itself as a progressive leader. There is no better time than now to back it up with action.