Fully Vaccinated? Too Bad!
Published: Monday, Jul 5th 2021, 4:07pm
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
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
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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