Realty One

Saturday, November 26, 2016


TORONTO - CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge isn't following the NFL's lead and acknowledging a link exists between football-related head trauma and brain disease.

In March, Jeff Miller, the NFL's top health and safety officer, made the admission during a discussion on concussions convened by the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce. It marked the first time a senior league official conceded football's connection to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

But Orridge didn't follow suit Friday when asked about the issue during his annual state-of-the-league address.

"I can't speculate or comment on what the NFL's findings have been and what led them to that conclusion,'' Orridge said. "Last I heard, it's still a subject of debate in the medical and scientific community.

"The league's position is there's no conclusive evidence at this point.''

A month after Miller's admission, a U.S. federal judge gave final approval to a US$1-billion class-action lawsuit settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players. It would cover over 20,000 retirees for the next 65 years for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma.

The CFL has been named in a $200-million class-action lawsuit over concussions and brain trauma.

In March, a B.C. judge dismissed former player Arland Bruce III's concussion lawsuit against the league, former commissioner Mark Cohon, neuroscientist Dr. Charles Tator, the Canadian Football League Alumni Association and every team in the league. Bruce claimed the defendants downplayed the effects of repetitive head trauma and misrepresented player safety issues about concussions.

"The court case and ruling were a real 1-2 (punch) for CFL players,'' Brian Ramsay, the executive director of the CFL Players' Association, said in a statement Friday. "Despite efforts to improve health and safety protections and benefits in the (collective-bargaining agreement), the league has always resisted.

"During the court case, the league argued, and the court agreed, that the only protection injured players could count on was to be secured through collective bargaining, a path the league, has up to now, refused to follow, leaving injured players in a real bind.

"With access to the courts denied, the CFLPA is now pressing for Workers' Compensation coverage for professional football players in the CFL. If team management don't step up and take full responsibility for injured players, the public health care system, financed by taxpayers, ends up with the bill for those injured players. That's not fair in our view and we're making a case to change that situation.''

Orridge wouldn't comment about the class-action suit. But he told reporters the number of concussions suffered in the CFL this season was down 20 per cent (40 compared to 50 in 2015).

"I respect and admire all the people who helped build this league, there's no doubt about that,' he said. ''And I'm appreciative of what they may be going through.

"But some of our former family members are party to a class-action suit that is pending litigation . . . so I can't go any further than that. But certainly, you know, without them, there would be no us.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Jeff finally realized he's in over his head and this is the easy way out to the umemployment line.

Fire J. Orridge immediately upon conclusion of 2016 CFL season.


Keith Pottruff said...

It's really all that he could say. Especially with a court action pending. And $200 million would of course be a huge below to the league.

Anonymous said...

It's not hard to see why CBC Sports went all to hell when this guy was in charge. How long is his contract?

Anonymous said...

Some media get their panties into a bunch.

What were they expecting him to say? That's all he could say. There's pending litigation. He can't say there's a connection as that would admit culpability on the leagues part. He can't say we're going to watch the NFL closely and follow their lead, as that ties the CFL to any resolution the NFL agrees to, so if they agree on an out of court settlement of $1M per player that has issues, guess what? The CFL is now somewhat tied to that precedent. Goodbye league.

He could always have jammed out and said 'no comment', but then Terry Jones and the royal court of whiners would just be bashing him about a lack of transparency and the fact they can't stuff their maws with free donuts in the dressing room anymore.

Anonymous said...

Rod is the smart one, he's flying home to Regina today (saturday)

Anonymous said...

He should have not made the comment using excuse if before the courts. Of course he has to take that position or pretty well kiss the league goodbye.

Anonymous said...

This man may have just opened a crack to the vault door of future litigation. Careful what you address to a small covenent as it could lead to a definitive demise into bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

It probably would have been better to say that he can't comment on this because of pending litigation and leave it at that. Denying that there is a direct correlation between concussions and brain injury just got a lot of people angry and frustrated.

Anonymous said...

He has no choice but to take this reasoning. The CFL is facing a monster lawsuit that they can't afford to settle. The NFL wouldn't admit anything either until they settled their lawsuit and limited their liability