With no agreement reached between the Canadian Football League and the CFL Players’ Association, the collective bargaining agreement expired Saturday and the union began its first labour strike since 1974. Keep up with all the latest news and reaction with TSN.ca’s CFL strike blog.
Players past and present sound off
Seven of the league's nine teams participated in a work stoppage over the weekend. The Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders reported to camp on Sunday as they were not yet in a legal position to strike, per Alberta labour laws. This sparked frustration from players, including Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence and CFLPA vice-president and defending Grey Cup champion Adam Bighill of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The fact teams are getting better right now is crazy to me oh well they still getting smoked !!!— Simoni Lawrence (@Simoni_Lawrence) May 16, 2022
Today not being on the football field and being on strike sure wasn’t what we wanted. On the bright side I was able to coach my sons flag football team tonight.— Adam Bighill (@Bighill44) May 16, 2022
TSN's Farhan Lalji pointed out on Sunday that the next big day is May 18. Then, the Alberta-based Elks and Stamps can strike.
So what’s the next real pressure point in @CFL strike? IMO it’s May 18. At that point the Alberta teams can strike. And if #Bombers #Riders aren’t on the field by then, it puts the May 23 pre-season game in peril. Which means the first loss of revenue for owners. @CFLonTSN— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) May 15, 2022
In a tweet by the CFLPA, Bighill and fellow vice-president Henoc Muamba stated how players can help grow the league, why it's important that the PA and the league are partners, and outlined what a fair agreement looks like.
1/2 #TeamCFLPA VP @Bighill44 on some of our key issues as we continue to look for a #fair and #equitable deal on behalf of our Members.#CFL #CFLPA pic.twitter.com/4ruaPO0TJ8— CFLPA (@CFLPA) May 16, 2022
#TeamCFLPA VP @HenocMuamba on some of our key issues as we continue to look for a #fair and #equitable deal on behalf of our Members.#CFL #CFLPA pic.twitter.com/QVIioKF6J7— CFLPA (@CFLPA) May 16, 2022
Toronto Argonauts defensive back Shaquille Richardson tweeted to the fans, thanking them for their support and saying he hopes to be back on the field soon. He added in an earlier tweet that though he wants to play, a deal is the priority.
As a #CFL player I want to say that we greatly appreciate all the fans that stand with us and the #CFLPA in fighting for a fair CBA! One that at least gives long term health benefits and disability benefits.
Thank you CFL fans! I hope we get this done soon
I definitely want to play this year but I don’t want to waste 7 years and fight for player rights next time around …— Shaq Richardson (@Dr4_unruly) May 14, 2022
B.C. Lions linebacker and 2021 CFL Most Outstanding Canadian Bo Lokombo shouted out the CFLPA reps and said he wants to get a CBA deal done.
Let's get this CBA deal done man S/O to all the player reps working overtime working hard to make this happen🙏🏾 @CFLPA @CFL— Boseko (@LOKO4BOLO20) May 14, 2022
Alex Singleton, a 2017 CFL All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year with the Calgary Stampeders and current Denver Bronco, voiced his opinion.
Fans of this league please DO NOT GET BEHIND THE LEAGUE and ask for this to be agreed on. The @CFLPA members want nothing more but to be playing BALL under a fair safe deal for them! Stay strong boys 💪🏻 and FANS! https://t.co/7JMvC4s6dP— Alex Singleton (@alexsingleton49) May 14, 2022
Retired CFL veteran Marc-Olivier Brouillette issued the same sentiments as Singleton, urging the union to stay strong.
Stay strong and united. You’re worth a lot more than you think @CFLPA— Marc-O Brouillette (@MOBrouillette) May 14, 2022
Fellow retired CFL veteran Jason Vega applauded the CFLPA for their efforts on making sure all their players and representatives are on the same page. He adds that this has not always been the case and that he is happy to see progress made.
I applaud the #CFLPA for making the effort to get players on the same page for the common goal. In the past this situation was not handled properly but I’m happy to see the players have their ducks in a row now.— Jason Vega (@VegaJason) May 16, 2022
In a back-and-forth conversation on Twitter with the retired voice of the Bombers Bob Irving, Stampeders lineman Derek Dennis notes the players want a deal done.
You don’t think we want this done? 🤣— Derek Dennis (@6BONECRUSHER3) May 15, 2022
Ticats running back Don Jackson notes that this isn't just about the game of fooball.
This is about our lives, our safety, our livelihood ! It's your entertainment. Please be mindful graceful.— Don Jackson (@DonnyjGLA6) May 15, 2022
On Monday evening, the CFLPA released a statement that was shared by past and present Tiger-Cats, announcing that CFLPA members from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be gathering outside Tim Hortons Field in an act of solidarity. Fans were invited to come to show their support.
Hey Tiger Town! The support the players and the @CFLPA have received over the past two days has been amazing! We all want to get back to football, but first the league needs to come back to the bargaining table. Show your stripes tomorrow, 9-10:30am at Tim Horton's Field! #HamOnt https://t.co/cKyxXECmsN— Peter Dyakowski (@PeterDyakowski) May 17, 2022
The #Ticats are at Tim Horton's Field this morning to ask the @CFL to come back to the bargaining table. The @CFLPA wants to get a fair deal done and get back to football! pic.twitter.com/2i6XfEQUSD— Peter Dyakowski (@PeterDyakowski) May 17, 2022
After the Winnipeg Blue Bombers issued a statement informing fans that practices have been cancelled, players came together for an informal workout Monday morning, according to current voice of the Bombers Derek Taylor.
Until further notice, Blue Bombers practices are canceled. The club will issue its next media schedule once another practice has been confirmed. pic.twitter.com/MWXSZUqHzZ— Winnipeg Blue Bombers (@Wpg_BlueBombers) May 16, 2022
At least 80 Bombers players together for an informal workout this morning. It looks a lot like a regular camp practice, but being led by vets. #ForTheW #CFL— Derek Taylor🏈 (@DTonSC) May 16, 2022
Potential pre-season cancellations
Next Monday's pre-season game between the defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders will not be played without a new collective bargaining agreement done by Wednesday, according to TSN CFL insider Dave Naylor.
While no decision has yet been made, hearing that Monday’s pre-season game between @Wpg_BlueBombers and @sskroughriders won’t happen without a CBA deal done by Wednesday. Given that’s 2 days from now and no bargaining scheduled … seems unlikely to take place.#CFL #CFLPA— Dave Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) May 16, 2022