CFL and players’ union ‘closest we’ve been in many years’: CFLPA vice president Ryan King

If you believe the tweets and headline, CFL players are on the brink of revolt as the the league office pummels their pocket books behind a veil of opaqueness.

That doesn’t quite gel with reality, at least according to the leadership of the CFL’s Players’ Association

“A lot of people are really paying close attention to every single little thing they hear. From my level on the bargaining committee, very much in the process of getting the CFL back in play, I can say that this is the closest that we’ve been with the CFL in many years,” CFLPA Vice-President Ryan King said on TSN 1260 radio in Edmonton.

The recently retired long-snapper is well-aware of the struggles players are facing with the continued uncertainty around the 2021 season, but insists conversations behind closed doors are far more amicable than most assume.

“A lot of our concerns we had with each other are more or less out the window at this point because we both realize that the most important thing right now is to get a product back on the field,” King said.

The league office and players’ union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football in 2021. The two sides have submitted return to play health and safety plans to various levels of government in Canada. Each province would have to give approval with the feds needing to provide the final stamp.

The CFL unveiled its 2021 schedule in November with the pre-season slated to begin on Sunday, May 23. The regular season is scheduled to get underway on Thursday, June 10 and the Grey Cup is currently set for Sunday, November 21 in Hamilton, but that is expected to be delayed.

A memo issued by the CFLPA to its membership last week advised players not to quit their current employment until after clarity on the start date has been provided, something that hasn’t occurred despite ‘repeated requests’ by the union.

Though King has played his last game after eight seasons in Edmonton, he truly believes that the players he represents at the bargaining table will get on the field at some point.

“I am very confident that there will be CFL football this year, in some capacity,” King said, adding his retirement helps achieve that goal.

“I can really focus on getting the guys back on the field”