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Friday, February 2, 2018

AMBROSIE LOWERS THE BOOM


Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has released the following statement:

There has been a lot of commentary lately about the status of CFL players who wish to pursue potential NFL opportunities halfway through their first standard CFL contract (which spans a first year and a second year, which kicks in at the option of the team). I want to spell out where the CFL stands:

- Our rules and procedures are clear. Players are required to honour their contracts as they are registered with the league. In two recent cases that have garnered media attention, the Toronto Argonauts have honoured these rules and procedures as they should.

- Teams are not allowed to make side deals with players entering the league, either in unregistered written contracts or in verbal agreements, which promise a player he will be released upon request after one year or which bind him to subsequently return to the same CFL club should he not secure employment in the NFL. Recently, one of our teams announced they had released a player halfway through his first CFL contract so he can pursue NFL opportunities. The CFL has discerned this action was a product of such a side agreement and the team faces a heavy fine for not following our rules and procedures.

- Some people refer to an NFL window which would allow a player to leave after the first year of his first CFL contract. Such a window does not exist. It has not been in place or in practice since 2012, when it was phased out.

- We have the utmost respect for our players, their careers and their ambitions. Like any league, we also expect them to respect their contractual obligations as our teams will respect theirs.

- We remain open to change. I am currently on a listening tour of CFL cities, meeting with football operations for each team as well as fans in every market, looking for ideas that will make for the best game and our strongest league.

- It is too late in the calendar year to fairly amend this rule but if a better approach to this issue – or any issue, for that matter – is available, we will move forward with it. There are differing views on this issue within our league and I look forward to hearing all sides of the debate as well as from people with innovative new ideas.

As always, I thank our players for their tremendous efforts on and off the field, our fans for making all we do possible and the media for their continuing interest and storytelling.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ouch!!

Anonymous said...

So which team is going to get fined?

Anonymous said...

In the future how is the league going to prove a team released a player early to pursue NFL options they could give any reason they want ,also what proof could there be of a verbal agreement to do so. The lions should have said nothing as to the reason they were releasing Awe.

Anonymous said...

I believe the contracts are registered with the league. Sure any team can release a player but the kicker in the BC side deal is the player has to sign with the Lions if he returns. He's released outright but not a free agent. This gives the club a leg up & the player no bargaining power. They can get him back & at a discount price as he can't go elsewhere. Not good for the league or the player if he has to come back.

Anonymous said...


BC with Awe from what I understand

mister winnipeg said...

A reasonable position. But asking American players to move to Canada and to then put their necks on the line for $50K (which gets you what, a shoebox apartment somewhere in the sticks?) strikes me as a pretty weak proposition. The CFL needs to step it up a bit.

Anonymous said...

I say, this Ambrosie chap turning out to be a bozo.

Sir Edward Shampintower

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight The two year or 3 or four year contract between players and team is a commitment by both side to fulfill their end of the deal. If a player suercedes his value he is expected to fulfil it.That is the situation Wilder and Butler find themselves in. No chance to ask for more as they signed low originally. BUT if a team feels they are not getting the value from the player they signed for then the players are asked to review there contract and ultimately accept less or even lose their contract. They may even lose their contract if a cheaper player shows up at spring training. Nothing guaranteed. Some thing seems not quite right here. As long as players were at least given the option in spring to try for the prized and much more $$ rewarding payday NFL contract it seemed bit more tenable. This current proposed arrangement doesn’t seem to add to the integrity of the CFL. It would appear to discourage any top rookie from staying away till he’s 5 years older and exhausted all of his nfl ambitions and probably now has lost some speed and energy as well. Hopefully Mr Ambrossie can find some way forward that can help us to get recruits that are top tier even if we lose them early. Every successful CFL to NFL graduate will promote other good college grads to come up here to try as well
Tk

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with this if players had guaranteed contracts. But they don't.
DM

Anonymous said...

The CFL and how they treat so called "free agent" players is also a joke. Teams can put any free agent on this negotiation list and this means the free agent can only sign with them. This is how the Tiger Cats are holding Manziel hostage. He either signs with them or tough luck. He should be able to negotiate with any team and perhaps he might give a CFL team one year and produce and get an NFL shot or he could be a bust (likely) and be cut. Either way, we are not going to know.

The CFL is going to see less players like Wilder in the future and as the previous poster noted, even if they signed (for peanuts) for three years, they can be cut at any time by the team with zero compensation. Those players who are fringe NFL types sometimes just need the chance to play and show what they can do. I would rather have one year of someone like Joe McKnight and Trent Richardson than not have them at all.

@mrt_man said...

NOBODY IS COMING UP HERE WHO HAS FOUR DIFFERENT MILLION DOLLAR DEALS TO CHOOSE FROM... BUT OUR WEATHER IS BETTER SO THEY COME UP HERE FOR 50K. YOU TRIED THE NFL... NOBODY WANTED YOU, SO YOU CAME UP HERE FOR A LAST CHANCE AT BEING ABLE TO PLAY FOOTBALL... A TEAM TOOK A CHANCE ON YOU AND IT PAID OFF... BE HAPPY YOU GET TO PLAY FOOTBALL AND FINISH YOUR CONTRACT. IT SEEMS SILLY TO BE TRASHING THE TEAM THAT 8 MONTHS AGO WAS THE ONLY ONE LEFT IN NORTH AMERICA THAT HAD ANY INTEREST IN YOU.

IF YOUR GREAT CFL PERFORMANCE HAS LANDED YOU SOME NFL CHANCES... CONGRATS! MAKE THE MOST OF THE OPPORTUNITY ONCE YOUR CONTRACT IS DONE AND SHOW EM WHAT YOU GOT!

mister winnipeg said...

Exactly anonymous. The CFL is quickly becoming a league where to a young American, there is little real upside apart from being able to eke out something approximating a living playing football, while there is plenty of potential downside.

It's getting to the point where the CFL is becoming an unwise decision unless you know for a fact that every single NFL option has been completely exhausted.

I love this league and I point out to critics who question the talent level that you can find the best football players in the world not in the NFL, playing in the CFL. But at the rate things are going I have my doubts as to how much longer that will last and that is a sad thing.

Anonymous said...

So how does a situation such as Durant's contract which called for a bonus after year 1 and subsequently released play out? Doesn't the team have to honor the contract as much as the player does?

Anonymous said...

Did Durant play well enough to not get cut or be worth the bonus? People seem to think this is strictly money issue. However if the player is good enough to keep around, the bonus money means nothing to the team.

What we never hear about is the players who got to keep their Feb bonus. Who are those guys and what is their value on their teams?

I would assume that these bonuses are for being a current member of the team in the upcoming year. These are not the end of year bonuses for play in the current year.

Anonymous said...

This is how it works in all professional sports leagues. Limited opportunities, take your chance and see what happens. Want a job for life go work for the government.

Elaine said...

Honour your contract period. There are too many big egos once a player has a good season. I am sure there were reasons why the NFL didn't sign these two players, well actually one played, and nobody wanted him but Toronto.
Everyone has too honour their contracts or bonuses,if not, giving a bonus is of no use.
Maybe one year contracts are the answer, but doesn't seem ideal too me.
For the sake of the CFL I hope they come up with something that works, and takes away all this controversy, and let's
play football.

Anonymous said...

Love the sentence,"Honour your contract period." I take it you mean only the players have to honour their contract. The team doesn't have to honour the contract. It should work both ways.

Lewis Grant said...

I'm becoming more and more impressed with Ambrosie all the time. It's like night and day from Orridge, who was a ringer from the outside. Ambrosie really understands what's going on. That kind of long-term insider knowledge is so important, especially in the CFL, whose model relies on long-term fans.

Anonymous said...

The reality here is the cfl should adopt nfl rules and field size and become the minor league to the nfl. That way you would see far more talent on the field in Canada as players would be able to move up to the big league and also down for more playing time and conditioning. Make it work like hockey and then the cfl would also get financial assistance from the greatest money making sport in the world. I know we want to be different but with no one showing up for games in the largest cities the cfl is on the road to ruins.....the nfl has no such attendance issues....well except for LA lol! This then eliminates this contract discussion entirely as every player would have the ability to move up if they have earned it.

Anonymous said...

Make the CFL a feeder league for the NFL haha. You really don't know much about football do you? NFL TV ratings have been sliding for years now. Some cities can't give tickets away. You want a league where your best players get called up in the middle of a play off run? Is the CFL going to change the schedule to September to January. Give your head a shake.

Coach Cal said...

All this belly aching about how awful the contracts are....

HEY - the CFLPA negotiated these contracts and agreed to them.

The CFLPA gave up the "NFL tryout window".

These are the contract conditions the players have in the current CBA. The CFLPA agreed to them.

Are the salaries too low? Maybe. But no owner in the CFL is making a fortune and no owner is in the CFL to lose money, although they do.

If you don't like the contract, don'ts sign it.

You're welcome to work at White Castle instead ....