Realty One



Wednesday, December 7, 2016


By: Arash Madani

Just days after publicly declaring there is no link between the game of football, and neurodegenerative diseases that have been found in brains of more than 200 deceased football players, the CFL put its focus on an apparent new priority.


Documents obtained by Sportsnet show commissioner Jeffrey Orridge fined more than 20 of the 88 players who suited up in this year's Grey Cup, because of violations related to how they wore their socks in the game.

The fine notice was sent to the players on December 2, five days after this year’s CFL championship – a thriller that was decided in overtime. While the league has a dress code policy, multiple sources that Sportsnet contacted had never heard of so many players being slapped with fines for such a minor issue.

“It was a great game to cap a great season for our league. Then you see that the next week, and it’s one step forward and two steps back,” Brian Ramsay, the executive director of the CFL Players’ Association, told Sportsnet in an interview.

The memo, sent and signed off on by Commissioner Orridge, adds this warning: “Please also be advised that any future violations of the Dress Code Policy will result in more substantial fines being assessed against you.”

CFLPA president Jeff Keeping, who has been playing in the CFL since 2005, was floored when he saw that so many of the players in the game were being fined.

“If there’s a message to send our players, let’s talk about it,” he said. “We want to have open lines of communication so the league can let us know what they think we can do better to help our game. But socks…?”

The CFL did not respond to requests for comment.

The CFLPA held its first Grey Cup news conference this year, and did so just hours after Orridge declared “the League's position is that there is no conclusive evidence,” between football and brain diseases such as CTE, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Ramsay and the players union at the time called Orridge’s comments “disappointing and frustrating.” Seven days later came the fines from the commissioner’s office regarding how Stampeders and RedBlacks players wore their socks.

“We come out of serious conversations on both sides, stances on important topics for both sides,” Ramsay said Wednesday. “And you come out the next week with THAT?”

“We are actively trying to discuss other topics that are important, then this comes across.”

It is believed two other players were fined for wearing improper footwear, violating a CFL sponsor agreement with Adidas. In the fine notice, Orridge wrote “all players are expected to comply with the Dress Code Policy in efforts to maintain a professional and uniform appearance while on the field.”

Just yesterday, Keeping attended the Governor General’s conference on concussions in sport that drew representatives from the Olympic and Paralympic movement, professional sports and the medical community. Former CFL’ers Matt Dunigan and Etienne Boulay spoke, so too did Eric Lindros and Ken Dryden.

“The title of the conference was "We Can Do Better" and I believe that to be true in our game and we have the responsibility to do so, together,” said Keeping.

The collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and its players expires in the spring of 2019.


Marc said...

the commish NEEDS TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Knight said...

These fines just go to show where CFL higher ups have their heads. They are about 3 feet above their socks. Dress code for socks? Does anyone look at players socks? What were CFL rules regulators looking at socks for? Were there not more important things to look for? No wonder viewership is down when not even CFL Management were not watching the play

Rafal said...

OMG Comish has too much time on his hands? What's next? Improper wear of shoelaces? This guy needs to go, what a party pooper.

Ryan said...

Go read Marshall Ferguson's article. It explains all of those things and shows why this article is an irresponsible mess

Anonymous said...

….this is so sad that it isn't even funny anymore…a memo could have gone outlining any impropriety and warnings included…instead the Orridge circus continues and the merry-g-round continues spinning out of control….time to say goodbye to the worst Ambassador the CFL has ever had...

Anonymous said...

Very slow month in the sports world, so may as well bash the CFL brass over the sock rule. Ho Humm......

Anonymous said...

Jeffry Orridge really can do no right. Say he doesn't act, ADIDAS could pull out of their sponsorship, then he's criticized for that. I get why the players would be mad, I sure would be if I was fined for a sock violation. All the Jeffry Orridge haters out there, me being one of them, will get there wish at the very latest when his contract is up. He will likely not even want to continue the job. And who could blame him? Mark Cohon, who we all loved, declined to consider continuing his term as the CFL commissioner. Mr. Cohon preferred to chair the Canadian Academy of Recording Artists and Scientists rather then be commissioner of the CFL. Orridge will be done soon. Will we every find another Mark Cohon? I have my doubts.

Anonymous said...

The league continues to be a joke. Dress code fine for socks. Stupidity rules the CFL.

Anonymous said...

The NFL and every other sports league fines players for uniform violations on a daily basis. It's a thing. It is a hatchet job to say they are dealing with socks instead of concussion protocol. The CFL has no choice but to take the position they have taken while they are a defendant in a class action suit. The settlement could easily bankrupt several CFL teams with the stroke of a pen and any comment by the CFL executive will find it's way into the lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

To somewhat steal a line from Allen Iverson, "We're talking about socks...not the game, not the Grey Cup....socks!" Yes, I get it that there are endorsement deals in place which are beneficial to the league. That being said, at the same time let's talk about misplaced priorities and lack of understanding. During Grey Cup week Orridge talks about the fact that there is not determined correlation between football and concussions and then two weeks later he is concerned with how players choose to wear their socks. This is slowly becoming a Mickey Mouse league and Goofy has apparently been placed at the helm.

In my humble opinion, Jeffrey Orridge is proof that sometimes you can be a very intelligent human being. Intelligence doesn't always make an individual best suited for a certain job. The guy is obviously smart but at the same time he is clearly oblivious and unable to see what is important. Officiating is a mess, Glen Johnson is quick to throw his referees under the bus amongst other issues impacting player safety and the quality of play but he is more worried about socks. In his tenure Orridge has done more to wreck this league than he has to improve it moving forward.

Anonymous said...

These Jeffery Orridge fines smell of toe jam!

Anonymous said...

One concussion too many for the head (or to the head) of the CFL. Send out a memo but why deflate the winners with this crap and make the losers even look worse?

Anonymous said...

This calls for a " Challenge Flag" it just seems that we don't see enough of those during CFL games which is destroying our game and sending fans to NFL Sundays. Keep it up and this League will be unheard of in years to come.