Realty One

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said this weekend's violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., prompted the CFL to unveil a new line of T-shirts Sunday in Regina rather than later this fall.

The T-shirts feature the words "Diversity is Strength'' on the front and "A league of what we're made of,'' on the back with surnames of many current and former CFL players and personnel. They were worn by B.C. and Saskatchewan players and coaches prior to the Roughriders' 41-8 win at Mosaic Stadium, including Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono, whose name appears on the back.

The T-shirts were originally scheduled for launch this fall as part of Canada 150 celebrations. But Ambrosie said the decision was made Saturday to unveil them in Regina after one woman was killed and nearly 20 others injured in Charlottesville when a car plowed through a group protesting a white supremacist rally.

"It's not a political message,'' said Ambrosie, a former CFL player who was appointed commissioner last month. "It was just an acknowledgment that at a time when the world is being pulled apart we can do something to bring it back together and remind people how important coming together is and how diversity can play a big role in being bigger, stronger, faster, better.

"I just felt in a moment when there might be a focus on negativity that there was time to refocus on the positive aspects of diversity. All you have to do is look at the names on those T-shirts and recognize these were players from every race, colour and creed who came to the league and were given an opportunity and became stars and Canadian icons. It's not at all political, it's just who we are and really worthy of celebration.''

Ambrosie said other CFL teams will don the T-shirts this week.

"We've already had those requests coming in ... the teams are all getting excited about it,'' he said. "I'm happy to say it looks as though this is being embraced by our teams, by the Canadian public.

"It's something we should just continue to celebrate because it's so much a part of being part of the CFL and being Canadian.''

In Calgary, Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson, who's from Great Falls, Mont., says he was glad to see the initiative.

"I'm not into politics too much. I think we just should be treated as humans,'' Dickenson said. "We're all in the same boat. We're all working hard for the same goals. I don't understand what's going on except that I want to treat people fairly and everybody's the same in my mind.

"Just look at the Canadian content in our league, where they're from. I think Canada is quite diverse. I like being up here. They adopted a Montanan so I feel like that's a good thing. I really like being in Canada. I feel it's quite diverse and a place I feel safe.''

The CFL plans to make the T-shirts available for sale to fans sometime later this week. Ambrosie said the league is looking at dedicating a portion of the proceeds to Purolator Tackle Hunger as well as the CFL Alumni Association.

"I think this is a perfect way to reinforce the Canadian Football League and reinforce the message of being Canadian,'' Ambrosie said.

Ambrosie said the feedback he received from Lions and Riders players and officials about the T-shirts was positive.

"Everywhere I turned, the people wearing T-shirts were smiling and I think they were wearing them proudly,'' he said. "While I can't point you to a survey or scientific test that would prove the point, I think everyone who put one of them on, my feeling was they were just incredibly proud to be part of a positive message.''

And that included Ambrosie, who wore a T-shirt with Riders receiver Chad Owens in a picture that appeared Sunday on Twitter.

"I'm a double XL so my message was even bigger,'' Ambrosie said.


With files from Canadian Press reporters Kyle Cicerella, Ryan McKenna in Toronto and Donna Spencer in Calgary.


Anonymous said...

Ambrosie is awesome. He even visited a local farm yesterday and went for a combine ride. This guy wasn't president of major financial institutions for nothing. This guy is a leader and he will bring this league back to greatness.

Gunderson's Yorkton

Gpb said...

Why didn't Chris Jones wear one ?

3RD and 1 said...

Actions speak louder than words. However when your actions contain positive wording; it can be twice as strong.
I think the timing of this campaign was spot on!
Well done.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? We going to get into this debate? Give me a break. It's crap like this that won Trump the election. Most of the other Riders and Lions coaches didn't wear one. So what. That doesn't make them racists or non-condemning of what happened in Virginia. Cut that s**t out right now. We've got enough divisiveness in our society as it is.


Anonymous said...

This new commish is 1000x better than whoever the last guy was.

Anonymous said...

Well, why not grow a pair and ask him?

Anonymous said...

I saw the excellent movie 'Dunkirk" at the Imax this weekend. (If you are going to see the movie go to the Imax where it is in 70mm, it is incredible). The irony for me was that here we have a hit film playing in North America where we see the Nazis kill off many young men in horrific ways, and yet at the same moment we witness on the news a movement of young men acting like complete knuckleheads expressing their love of Nazism and hatred of others and human rights. Good timing by the CFL on this campaign.

Anonymous said...

Politics has no place in sports anymore than religion does. This is disgusting shame on you Ambrosie.

Anonymous said...

Politics may not have a place in sports but all matters related to Human Rights certainly do.

Unknown said...

Shame on the last person who posted shaming Ambroise.

Anonymous said...

Promoting a message that your organization is against hate is not "politics". It's called common sense and basic decency.

Anonymous said...

Jones bothers the f*** out of me, but its pretty obvious that the guy has a superstitious ritual with only wearing black. Like ever. On Game days it has to be the long sleeved balck polo buttoned up to his chin.

Pretty sure thats about all there is to that. He refused to wear the Canada 150 swag on Canada Day weekend as well. If you looked closely I think he had a tiny button pinned to his shirt that day, probably because it was mandated to wear something with the logo on it that weekend.

Anonymous said...

Love the message. Great idea to move faster to get it out now and not wait like ambroise said in the interview you had with him on game day.

Anonymous said...

...and about that #34 George Reed shirt ...

Anonymous said...

Clearly Jones does not believe Diversity is Strength. He just likes the strong odour of old stinky black shirts.