Monday Mailbag: CFL BOG vote on 2021 season, Andrew Harris’ legacy

The 3DownNation Monday Mailbag answers questions from readers across the country every week.

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We’ve answered a handful of questions below. If your question didn’t get picked, don’t panic — we’ll save it to potentially answer here next week or on the 3DownNation Podcast.

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I’m worried the 2021 season is in danger. How many teams need to vote ‘yes’ for it to happen?

-Kyle Johnson

Thanks for the question, Kyle.

The CFL requires more than two-thirds of its member clubs to vote for a motion in order for it to pass. In a nine-team league, this means they need at least seven votes for a fourteen-game season to begin on August 5.

The board of governors are meeting virtually on Monday at noon eastern time to cast their votes. I believe the motion will pass, but I’m curious to learn by what margin.

If it’s unanimous, I expect the league will make an announcement as such. It would be positive PR for the CFL to show that all nine teams are on the same page and want to play in 2021.

If the vote isn’t unanimous — and there’s a decent chance it won’t be — I doubt the league will publicize that information. It should still get reported by someone in the media, at which point we can all have fun debating the issue on social media.

Some expect the CFL will announce a unanimous vote even if there is some dissent, but that remains to be seen.

It’s worth noting that the result of last year’s vote regarding a bubble season has never been reported, though it’s believed it was 7-2 in favour. The season was never played, which calls into question how the voting works.

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It’s ridiculous that you keep giving Andrew Harris support like you did on your O Canada list. He’s a cheater and everyone knows it.

-Chris

Thanks for the message, Chris.

It’s true that Andrew Harris tested positive for metandienone in August 2019, which is a banned substance under the CFL’s drug policy.

Harris denied taking the substance knowingly and said that he’d tested cleanly just ten days prior to his failed drug test. Metandienone remains in your system for up two four weeks, which is why it’s odd that a trace amount would be in his system so soon after a negative test.

The all-star running back claimed that the positive test was “clearly a case of product contamination,” though this was never proven.

I don’t know if Andrew Harris cheated or not. What I do know is that he served his two-game suspension, which is the penalty for a first-time doping violation in the CFL. You can argue that this punishment should be more severe — and I’d probably agree with you — but it is what it is.

Harris may or may not have done the crime, but he still did the time. He was also held out of consideration for league awards such as Most Outstanding Canadian and Most Outstanding Player after local beat reporters chose not to nominate him due to the failed drug test.

The 34-year-old is the CFL’s all-time leading rusher among Canadian players. He has more rushing yardage than the late, great Normie Kwong despite having fewer career carries. His durability sets him apart from Jon Cornish, who only stayed healthy for two seasons as a true feature back.

Harris could reach two huge milestones this season: 10,000 rushing yards and 15,000 yards from scrimmage. Here’s a list of CFL running backs who have reached those marks: Mike Pringle and George Reed. End of list.

I don’t think Harris’ failed drug test should be forgotten, but I also don’t think it should discount everything he’s ever accomplished. I’m not going to pretend that he’s not outstanding because of one drug violation — whether it was legitimate or not.

Feel free to disagree, but I believe he’s still an all-time great and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The CFL should probably enforce stricter penalties for drug violators, but Harris has already paid for his infraction and will be under increased scrutiny for the rest of his career.

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