CFL rules Argos’ QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson eligible to play in 2021 East Final following quarantine, negative COVID-19 tests

Photo courtesy: Ryan McCullough/Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The CFL is leaving the door open for Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson to play in the East Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday afternoon.

In a statement sent out Friday the league said:

Following Bethel-Thompson’s presence at last night’s Toronto Raptors game, the CFL consulted its Medical Committee, which has advised the league throughout the season on its COVID-19 protocols, and its responses to violations of them.

The league has now decided upon the following regarding Bethel-Thompson.

  • His appearance constituted a clear violation of the league’s protocols, which are much stricter than those facing the general public, and which prohibit players from attending large sporting events.
  • Bethel-Thompson was sent home this morning from the Argos facility.
  • He must Quarantine at home for two days and two nights.
    • He cannot attend practices or meetings in person today, nor tomorrow (December 3 and 4).
    • He can connect with the team electronically, attend virtual meetings and train individually, by himself and NOT at the team facility, today and tomorrow (December 3 and 4).
  • In addition to the PCR test completed today, he must undergo a PCR test tomorrow (Saturday, December 4) a Rapid Antigen Test on the day following (Sunday, December 5)
  • If all tests are returned negative and proof of the negative tests is provided to the League Office, he will then be able to join the team and play on Sunday, December 5.

The Medical Committee based its advice on current conditions, including the current rate of vaccination in the CFL Community, which has grown considerably since the summer.

The CFL has also been informed that four additional Argo players – Dexter McCoil, Charleston Hughes, Llevi Noel and Jeff Richards – also attended the basketball game.

They are now subject to the same quarantine and testing requirements as Bethel-Thompson.

The CFL does not disclose supplemental discipline tied to its COVID-19 protocols.

Strict protocols have allowed the CFL to have a positive COVID-19 test rate of less than one-tenth of one per cent. Ninety-five per cent of all CFL players are fully vaccinated.

The league experienced one outbreak this year, which forced the rescheduling of one game. It will continue to act on behalf of the health and safety of players, coaches and staff, and in the best interests of the CFL and its clubs.

As per the CFL’s own original tier one personnel rules, Bethel-Thompson was supposed to quarantine for four days and require two negative tests before he is allowed to be around the team again. He went 7-2 as a starter during the regular season to help the Argos earn first place in the East Division.

During 10 games in 2021, Bethel-Thompson completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,303 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The 33-year-old journeyman took the starting QB job from Nick Arbuckle and was a major reason why the boatmen are hosting the East Final at BMO Field.