‘This protocol violation rests squarely on Argonaut management’: CFLPA issues statement on CFL’s ‘unilateral’ change to COVID protocol

After a chaotic few hours Friday, it now seems unlikely that any players will miss Sunday’s East Final in Toronto for violating the CFL’s COVID protocol, but it seems the league’s decision to unilaterally alter their COVID policy to allow Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson a chance to play has angered the CFLPA.

The Players’ Association addressed the issue with a short statement Friday night.

“Before the 2021 season, the CFLPA and the CFL developed a Joint Return to Play Committee to set standards that would allow us to play football safely during this COVID crisis. As time passed, we were able to make adjustments to reflect the present-day realities of dealing with the virus. Today, we were not made aware of the facts, nor were we part of any consultations, and the decision was unilateral despite our commitment to a collaborative process.

Given the facts and information we have, this protocol violation rests squarely on Argonaut management.

Any further response from the CFLPA will be discussed with our governing body next week.”

Toronto’s starting quarterback was pulled from practice Friday after news broke that he, along with four other players, had violated the CFL’s COVID protocol by attending a Toronto Raptors game on Thursday night on team orders to promote their East Final matchup with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

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, which would barred him from the very playoff game he was sent to promote.

However, the league ruled Friday that Bethel-Thompson needs to quarantine for just two days, complete three tests (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), and have all those tests come back negative in order to play Sunday.

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