Friday was supposed to be the deadline for the CFL to reach an agreement with the players on the collective bargaining structure regarding a potential shortened season in 2020.
After hours of radio silence, the CFLPA sent a memo to its membership stating the deadline had been extended as the two sides await confirmation on Canadian federal government support.
That was the culmination of a day of frustration for players, who still don’t have financial clarity for 2020, and many took to Twitter to display their frustrations.
“I know there’s a lot of punting in the CFL but this is getting ridiculous,” Ottawa guard Nolan MacMillan quipped in one of the days more light-hearted statements.
Others were not so willing to crack a joke.
“Deadlines are easy to extend when everyone else is getting paycheques. CFL/CFLPA, I get that we have to wait for the government for help, but why are the players the only ones told that we on our own,” Hamilton defensive tackle Dylan Wynn said, drawing a chorus of approval from other players.
Toronto Argonaut Randy Richards had a similar question.
“I’m honestly trying to figure out how the CFL’s paying coaches and front office personnel but the players still haven’t gotten a dime,” the offensive tackle mused.
Calgary Stampeders kicker had an answer.
Recently retired Stamps punter Rob Maver, criticized by Glen Suitor on Thursday for his comments about commissioner Randy Ambrosie, took a more sarcastic tone.
“But…but… ThEy CaRe AbOuT ThE PlAYeRs!!! …who have not been paid one dollar meanwhile all other league staff has received majority of their scheduled pay,” Maver wrote.
Some team employees have been laid off or furloughed due to the crisis, while members of the league front office, including Ambrosie, have reportedly taken a 20 percent pay cut. The commissioner earns a reported $750,000 salary annually, plus incentives.
TSN’s Dave Naylor attempted to add some context to the discussion by pointing to why the players have not yet received government support.
“Players were not eligible for [Canada Wage Subsidy] because they are “seasonal” in the eyes of government,” Naylor commented. “League and players together lobbied government to change this. They have not.”
The bevy of criticism appears to be just the tip of the iceberg, with a silent majority also being deeply upset with how the situation has been handled.
“Seven days away from July closing. Gauging the temperature of some CFL players on what is going on. They’re fed up with Randy Ambrosie, how broken down this has been,” TSN 690 radio host Moe Khan tweeted.
“Some players are wondering once the dust settles, how ‘bleeped’ they will get from earning a respectable pay.”
It will take a united front to move forward with a season, but the deterioration of the relationship between the league and players makes that seem unlikely. Farhan Lalji is reporting that a new unofficial deadline could be July 31, but fans and players still have many questions. Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans summed those up perfectly.
“So what does “deadline” mean then..? This is a crazy time….”