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Fully Vaccinated? Too Bad!

Published: Monday, Jul 5th 2021, 10:07am

By: Sheldon Jones (@SheldonJones83)

 

As players begin their trek to CFL cities for the beginning of a 7-day quarantine ahead of training camps

scheduled to begin starting July 10 th , the league has been met with a rising number of retirements and

players deciding not to play this shortened 14-game season. While the case could be made for several

of the retirements based on some veteran players who have either found a career that might pay them

more than they would get coming up to Canada to play football, some might have just not been able

keep themselves in “football shape”, there seems to be a rise in players questioning whether it is worth

it for them to play with the league mandated covid protocols.

 

As of today, all players, whether they have received either their first or second shots of an approved

covid vaccine or not, will have to follow extremely strict “safety” protocols to be eligible to play. CFLPA

Union President Solomon Elimimian sent out a memo to players that was obtained by Justin Dunk of

3Downnation which outlined the protocols that must be followed by all players. Among other protocols,

all players will be required to always wear masks when not at home, limited to living with immediate

family or, if sharing a residence with a teammate, must always physically distance themselves including

at home, limit going out to restaurants except with whom they reside and have groceries delivered to

their home whenever possible. They are also prohibited from going to any place that does not have

seating where physical distancing can be always maintained which includes Casinos, Lounges, and

nightclubs after 10pm.

 

While at their home stadium / practise facility, they are required to always wear a Trace Safe tracking

chip (to monitor for contact situations), physically distanced meetings, locker room, sidelines and

treatment areas and are prohibited of sharing water bottles or towels. They are expected to arrive no

earlier than 20 minutes before schedule practices / events and are required to leave immediately after.

On away game trips, they are not allowed to leave the hotel for any reason (other than medical) other

than walking outside (while wearing masks) and are prohibited from visiting ANY establishments. No

visitors are allowed in the hotel and food must either be provided by the team in a designated room /

their hotel room or a delivery service (Skip the dishes or Uber Eats for example) must be used with extra

precautions.

 

Now I will start off by saying that I agree that the CFL needs to be strict when it comes to player and

staff safety. I agree with ALL the protocols listed for players who choose to not get fully vaccinated, for

players who did receive both shots, this list seems quite excessive. A few weeks ago, the NFL announced

that it had agreed with the NFLPA that players who have been fully vaccinated would have no additional

protocols whereas players who were not vaccinated would have to still follow all protocols from last

season including testing everyday. I know that forcing players to get the vaccine is not allowed, however

incentivising it much like some local governments did in having “vaccine lotteries” is a good way to help

get some players / people who might be on the fence about getting the vaccine, to do so. Asking a

player who has done his part through this pandemic, got his shots, “Stuck it to Covid” if you will, to have

to remain essentially in a bubble-like environment when the rest of the fans (and their families if they

live up here) are free after 16 months of health measures restrictions is asinine.

 

Solomon also prefaced in his memo to the players that because “the CFL and the CFLPA submitted our

application for a return to play in February 2021. At this time, we must follow that document as it is

approved by the government”. By the time training camps open (or one day later in Saskatchewan)

mask mandates and most of the health restrictions in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan will be lifted. I can’t

imagine a player running out of the tunnel at Mosaic Stadium on Aug 6 th for the first time in almost 2

years, seeing 33 thousand screaming fans and then realise that they are essentially an exhibit at a zoo,

there for our entertainment and then are not even allowed to go out in public unless its with whom they

live with…

 

I, like most of Rider Nation can’t wait to get to Mosaic Stadium and be able to witness the game that I

love but The CFL and the CFLPA need to appeal to the government to change these protocols for fully

vaccinated players, or us fans will continue to see players like Brendan Labatte decide that its not worth

it to play football because of these restrictions.

 

 

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