The federal government denied the Canadian Football League’s request for a $30-million interest-free loan. The funding would have been used to cover many of the expenses associated a 2020 CFL season, including player salaries.
There were (and remain) programs designed to help businesses navigate the COVID-19 crisis, but the CFL was looking for an option that was immediate and interest-free.
Plenty of people are upset with the government’s decision, which is understandable. The CFL creates hundreds of local jobs each year, including front office positions and roles on game day. It is also a key thread in the cultural fabric of our nation.
Trudeau Feds for five months have been gifting billions everywhere — like Jordan Belfort thumbing out hundred-dollar bills into the ocean off his yacht — and yet won't approve a measly $30M LOAN to the #CFL?
Should have renamed it the #WE-CFL.
— John Kryk (@JohnKryk) August 17, 2020
Certain generations will mock this, but the fact is the #CFL had tremendous history and heritage in this country and generates many tax dollars and income and jobs for both the local and national economies. This is a really disappointing decision by the Feds.
— BC Lions Den (@BCLionsDen) August 17, 2020
It's disheartening to know that the government fails to not only understand the significance of the @CFL to our ???????? history but the negative economic implications it will have on taxes and employment for all involved. https://t.co/QPXqzHM3OK
— Lori Bursey ???????? (@ArgoDiva) August 17, 2020
Shame on @liberal_party for not financially helping @CFL during this crisis. Govt has helped many/most companies & CDNs in general. #CFL isn't a large business like other pro sports leagues. Govt should help a CDN institution like #CFL. @RandyAmbrosie supported @JustinTrudeau.
— Ian (@77BlueJays) August 17, 2020
— Michael H. — views are my own (@Michael26237) August 17, 2020
Others supported the government’s decision, citing the CFL’s status as a private business and its lack of transparency throughout the loan application process. There were also some locals in Manitoba who expressed relief that the hub city will likely not move forward as planned.
Why should the #CFL get an interest free loan again? It’s a sports league, of course it sustains workforce and it has a duty to pay it’s players but sports should not take money away from public need especially at a time like this.
— Joe Narsa (@JoeNarsa) August 17, 2020
Good on the government for not bailing out the #cfl
— Peter Hoefgen (@Jelly_Canuck) August 17, 2020
while the decision not to lend the #CFL any money is disappointing, it is not surprising. Unfortunately, sports is not regarded the same as the Arts. Politics is all about optics & loaning $30mil to the CFL just looks bad while propping up the NAC with a grant looks necessary.
— Peter Cooper ???????? ???? (@PeterCooper) August 17, 2020
What is a #CFL franchise worth?
For the league to get a 30 million dollar loan they might have to put all the franchises up as collateral.
— Paul Almeida (@AzorcanGlobal) August 17, 2020
If there is a bright side to the #CFL cancellation, its that Winnipeg won't have to worry about hundreds of Americans coming to town after lying to the league about isolating at home for 2 weeks.
— Baron Von Awesome (@CappyD) August 17, 2020
There was also a lot of support for CFL players who have not been paid since the end of the 2019 season. With a 2020 season unlikely to take place, players are expected to go unpaid for the entire year.
CFL fans stand with the players. Retweet their off season businesses or services since they are basically moving into full time off season mode.
Any players in the Nashville area looking for full time jobs I know of a couple and a couple really good trainers to keep you going.
— Kent Ridley (@RidleyScouting) August 17, 2020
— Steve Johnson (@sportsgeek22) August 17, 2020
A part of my soul died tonight with the CFL news. Gutted for the players who ball and put in the work for a regular working wage. The support staff and front office teams. Hopefully they find away around this, but I don’t see the CFL playing in 2020.
— Jack Moore (@MadJack54) August 17, 2020
Sad day for the #CFL; feel mostly for the incredible players and staff I got to know during my four seasons in the league.
But: An interest-free loan to a for-profit business — incl. big financial muscle in ownership — was always a stretch, no? Regardless of political stripe.
— Carlos Verde (@Carlos77Verde) August 17, 2020
If this is indeed the end of the #CFL season, I hurt for my many brothers and friends who make a livelihood in that league. It's a sad day
— Dave Dawson (@DaveDawson7) August 17, 2020
— Chris (@3caesarmacky) August 17, 2020
This is heart breaking, especially for the players and the behind the scenes employees who've been waiting 5 months to know their fate. I wonder what would have happened is the league had been more collaborative and transparent. #CFLhttps://t.co/KaC4lDRgU2
— Graham Sucha (@grahamsucha) August 17, 2020
The real losers here are the players, not the fans. Many have not been paid in months, yet kept training, kept bargaining and now it may all be for not. #CFL
— BC Lions Den (@BCLionsDen) August 17, 2020
I'll have more words on this whole situation with the #CFL but I will say that this has really been a disappointing time and I really feel for the players and those who work for the league. https://t.co/LkQ8NTJBlM
— David Morassutti (@d_morassutti) August 17, 2020
Exchanged text messages with another CFL player about his thoughts on Randy Ambrosie, he wrote:
“I knew it was coming (cancelling of 2020). It was a matter of time. They kept pushing it to try and get some funds from the Feds. I’m annoyed they extended it that long.”#CFL
— Moe Khan (@MoeKhan19) August 17, 2020
Some players are wondering whether or not they are now free agents. For players who are only signed through 2020 — which many are — one could argue they should be granted their release right now.
Sooooo am I a free agent or what ??? ????? https://t.co/3kdkT7GptD
— brandon banks (@speedybanks87) August 17, 2020
It hurts to not be able to do what I love. But what hurts more is knowing that I’ll officially no longer be a Rider once the season is “officially” cancelled. It’s the first place where I was given a real chance to compete and the first place I had success ????
— Shaq Evans (@shaq_evans1) August 17, 2020
Some are also concerned that this could spell the end of the CFL altogether.
????. Wish I could say this isn’t “goodbye”, but a “see ya later”. Don’t get who could know at this point…. https://t.co/UqrKbrNsm0
— G. Ellingson (@Gelliman82) August 17, 2020
There was also a lot of criticism of CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, whose leadership has been questioned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the history of the #CFL is written, that day in May, 2020, when the commissioner of the league went to the federal government, asking for $150 million – without a business plan or any kind of agreement with the players – will stand out as one of its biggest failures. Ever.
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) August 17, 2020
#cfl now that feds have closed the door, Randy fate should be sealed by Gm/Owners by showing him the door and hire someone with proer buisness sense and sticks to fans vision of the league in the near future! 2021 is coming and the league has to have a plan!
— Trent (@Tgreen66Trent) August 17, 2020
These things are all true IMO:
1. Ambrosie bungled the initial ask
2. The #CFL faced a highly difficult task with no roadmap
3. Communication lacked more than effort
4. The government made a decision based on optics more than any other factor
5. Canadians are worse off for it
— JC Abbott (@JC_AbbottCFL) August 17, 2020
I expect the #CFL to formally cancel the season Monday. Anyone paying attention knew this day was coming months ago. Sad day for Canadian football.
Randy Ambrosie, the CFL commissioner, should take a huge amount of the blame. He just didn’t know what he was doing.
— Croz (@crossleyc) August 17, 2020
Should this debacle cost Randy Ambrosie his job? If so, who should replace him? For me, that man should be Duane Ford
— steven coady (@stevecoady) August 17, 2020