Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which cost the lives of 2,977 civilians and first responders. On such a somber occasion, many across the CFL have expressed shared their thoughts of remembrance, including commissioner Randy Ambrosie in a tweet which has been shared widely by CFL clubs.
“20 years ago, 9/11 changed the world. To the family and loved ones of the victims, including 24 Canadians, and the brave first responders who were lost: we in the CFL are thinking of you and all our American friends today, including many of our players and coaches. Never forget.”
The league has a somewhat tumultuous history when it comes to 9/11 and the commissioner’s role. When the tragedy struck in 2001, the CFL was the only North American pro league to vote to continue play that week. The board of governors dubbed it a show of strength, but the reality was the costs of rescheduling drove the decision.
Then CFL commissioner Michael Lysko swooped in to save face, unilaterally canceling the games so that the league would not become a social pariah. The decision fractured his relationship with several owners, most notably Sid Gutsche in Calgary, Bombers’ chairman David Asper, and the late David Braley, eventually becoming a contributing factor in Lysko’s firing after just 15 months on the job.
One this particular decision, history has reflected kindly on Lysko. Sports league’s across North America continue to acknowledge the societal turning point that was 9/11, including the CFL.