Craig Dickenson, the head coach of the Roughriders had a lot to say in light of recent events in the CFL, specifically the outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the Edmonton Elks locker room. He said:
“What happened with Edmonton is unfortunate and honestly a real shot of cold water and a dose of reality for all of us…”via: CTV
The end result of that outbreak ended up in a postponement of the Elk game vs. the Toronto Argonauts. The Elks have since decided to abide by a new set of rules and/or protocols set up for future games, as we previously reported.
The Roughriders also bumped up their rules moving forward, and like the Elks, specifically for fans attending future games.
As was reported by CTV News, shockingly, many less than 85% of the team was not vaccinated, and thus will not be paid for the game that was missed. Yet interestingly enough, more than 85% of the Roughriders are now vaccinated, according to the head coach.
“We’re very close and down to just a few guys that haven’t been vaccinated…They’ve dug their heels in the sand most of the guys that don’t want to get it, the logical arguments have all been made…”via: CTV
It’s interesting to see that despite the aforementioned recent outbreak and game postponement, there are still those refusing to put the team first and do what is required of them by the CFL, as Ed Gainey, defensive back for the Roughriders is doing and here’s why:
“In my case, I chose to put the team over myself because I really didn’t agree with it but I’m doing what I have to do to make sure I get paid…”via: CTV
Blunt and obviously quite to the point, but the message isn’t being received by one and all. Very much like in the rest of society, there are certainly those for and those against the vaccine and the reasons for being on either side are plentiful to say the least, but in this circumstance, for a league that suffered more than most other professional sports teams due to the pandemic, the question can be posed: Is it a good idea to be stubborn on this matter, especially seeing that an outbreak has already occurred, and in the opening month of the season?
Just take a look at the recent Elks Jake Ruby controversy. He actually lied to his team and head coach and administrators, stating that he was vaccinated when he wasn’t. Now, that trust base between admin and the players was severed, proof will undoubtedly be required, as Craig Dickenson also stated since the controversy broke out.
Also according to CTV News, Dickenson stated that they’ve been taking the player’s word for it, but that alas will change.
But why so many cases? Is it just the fans in the stands, or is it something else entirely? And…are the palyers perhaps doing something wrong? These questions have come up and Quarterback for the Roughriders, Cody Fajardo stated his thoughts:
“I think guys here have been smart with what their decisions are outside of football…This is our livelihood. We get paid to play football so you have to take it seriously and you can’t put your team in a bad situation…I think fan engagement might be a little bit better with the fans…Maybe you can high five some fans because you’ll know that everybody is vaccinated or doesn’t have COVID-19…If it’s a way to have safer environments for people to enjoy a ball game I’m all for it, so I’m happy they did it…”via: CTV
So Fajardo isn’t at all against the move, which seems rather logical and to second that motion, Dickinson had this to say:
“Right now the CFL is hitting them in the pocket book saying if they don’t have a vaccine then they can’t travel, they won’t be able to play in a game. If they don’t play in a game, they won’t get paid. Our approach is we encourage everyone to get vaccinated…If they’re not playing in games, their value to the team is less…”via: CTV
Like so many other institutions in the rest of society, all the CFL is doing is trying to find a way to motivate the collective to get vaccinated moving forward, thus keeping the game, the season and each of the individual teams alive, well and productive, hoping to get to that Grey Cup intact and with a solid season pay.
In the end, the move, although seeming to be rather right wing, seems to be the safest and surest bet for everyone involved, including the fans.
The Roughriders, who are leading the West Division with 3 wins, 0 ties and 0 losses, are set to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday, September 5th.