Gary Lawless covered the Canadian Football League for years prior to moving south of the border for a gig with the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
He knows the ins and outs of the CFL well and doesn’t shy away from putting his real thoughts out in the public to keep people accountable. Lawless read the 3DownNation Q&A with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner and took exception to the message from the Ticats caretaker.
“I read on 3DownNation an interview with Bob Young where Bob said you people don’t understand the numbers and the economics,” Lawless explained on The Rod Pedersen Show.
“With all due respect, Bob, the nine guys that run the CFL are not the only people that understand a P&L sheet on the planet. If it’s so complicated — show us — because really the league isn’t yours. You may own the franchise, but the league belongs to Canadian fans, to the people.”
The CFL board of governors decided to cancel its season after the Canadian federal government denied a $30 million interest-free loan, which the league wanted on their own terms. Lawless doesn’t know where the leadership is taking the league by keeping itself off the field.
“If you’re going to bring it back, you’re going to have to do a hell of a sell job to those people. I’ll be honest with you — a lot of people have told me I’m crazy, that it’ll be back — I’m really worried about the future of the CFL, you have to be they’re not playing football right now,” Lawless said.
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has been under serious scrutiny since fumbling his presentation to the standing committee on finance. However, Lawless feels the issues with the current commish go all the way back to the beginning of his tenure leading the CFL. For reference, Ambrosie was hired in July 2017.
“They’re gutting their front office, Randy Ambrosie made some terrible mistakes when he let Glen Johnson and Christina Litz go just off the top. I know Randy ran some good businesses in his time between being a player and being a commissioner — hasn’t done much of a job as commissioner of the CFL from my perspective,” Lawless said.
After retiring from pro football, Ambrosie entered the business world, becoming a president and/or CEO for three different companies: president AGF Management Limited (2004-2009), president and CEO Accretive 360 Inc. (2010-2012) and 3Macs president and CEO (2012-2016).
“He’s handled the low hanging fruit, but the real tough stuff, hasn’t solved Vancouver, expansion now in Halifax is mothballed,” Lawless said.
“And the handling of COVID — listen, I get it, this is a pandemic, this has shuttered a lot of businesses. This is not a fastball down the middle, this is the toughest pitch you’d ever face, but swing and a miss, big time.”