Protest by CFL & NFL players are more important than the game

It’s no longer the Saskatchewan Roughriders versus the Calgary Stampeders. Or Ottawa Redblacks.

It’s now the Roughriders versus their fans, some of whom were upset their beloved players and coaches linked arms during the Canadian national anthem preceding Saskatchewan’s 15-9 loss to the visiting Stampeders. The Roughriders subsequently released a statement supporting the show of unity that concluded with: “As an organization, we stand alongside our players and support their individual right to freedom of speech and their beliefs.”

Riders receiver Duron Carter insinuated on Twitter he was told to “Just shut up and play.’’ Riders offensive lineman Derek Dennis tweeted his sadness about the reactions he got supporting “Family and Friends and ourselves who have to deal with systemic racism.”

Under a photo of them linking arms with teammates, Dennis’ and Carter’s timelines were subsequently filled with people supporting their stance, which may be a Canadian slant because polls show 70 per cent of Americans disagree with the protests that have caused NFL teams to scramble for solutions and issue their own statements to explain what they’re doing during pregame anthems.

The CFL and CFL Players’ Association also defended the rights of individuals to non-violently protest or support whatever they wanted, without disrupting the games.

So this protest that was started 14 months ago by since-blackballed, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick – his CFL rights are owned by the Montreal Alouettes – has now turned into a show of unity instead of a statement decrying racial discrimination?

It’s certainly become way more than that.

It’s left versus right. Equality versus disrespect. Black versus white. “Stick to sports” versus “Politics permeates sports.” It has leaked — no, poured — into Canada.

Everyone has an opinion. And nobody listens.

Former Roughriders president Tom Shepherd, who now handles fund-raising through Friends of the Riders Inc., praised U.S. President Donald Trump in a radio interview, the same president who stated NFL owners should “fire” any “sons of bitches” not standing for the American national anthem.

From across Canada came some support and negative backlash for Shepherd’s views. It certainly didn’t change anyone’s mind, it simply entrenched everyone’s thoughts even deeper.

Everyone could debate the logic of playing anthems before sporting events, but that’s now beside the point. Anthems are played in American arenas while black athletes kneel through them, sometimes with white teammates showing support by draping arms over their shoulders. Fans now watch games to see who and how many players are kneeling.

It infuriates people who believe the kneeling disrespects the country, police and military, people who have fought and died for freedom. Kaepernick and every other kneeler has insisted they love their country and respect the military; the military has nothing to do with this. Nobody listens.

Everyone has made it into their own passion play, seeing it through their own eyes and rendering their own opinions, criticizing anyone who disagrees. It’s us versus them.

It’s divisive, hurtful and damaging. It’s uncomfortable discussing topics nobody wants to discuss, when nobody wants to admit they’re wrong or right. It’s like cheering for the Roughriders, or the Stampeders, or the Redblacks and not understanding how someone doesn’t cheer for your favourite team.

But this is much more important than a game.

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.
Darrell Davis
Darrell Davis
About Darrell Davis (119 Articles)
Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.

36 Comments on Protest by CFL & NFL players are more important than the game

  1. Keep this trash off the site. Lots of other places for people to discuss this stuff.

  2. The CFL fans are probably to far away from the US to comprehend what the Black players are doing about racism. That is their excuse. In Canada the idea of racism should have been brought home by three Truth & Reconciliation Commission and the 60’s scoop. There are historical reasons for kneeling. CFL Football Fans could possibly do a bit of reading? Canada is not free of racism & hate.

  3. Derrick Wawro // September 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm //

    Virtue signalling is the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.

    • Or maybe it’s the conscious expression of moral values in the face of horse-blinkered Neandrathals determined to ignore outrageous injustice, just so long as they get their football fix.

      Just a thought….

      • The current “protests” have nothing to do with injustice. It is in response to the comments by President Trump.

        Mr. Kaepernick and the few players who were kneeling to the American anthem prior to last weekend WERE expressing their genuine protest against injustice (perceived or otherwise). The rest of the players who joined in this past weekend are just Trump bashing. Otherwise, all of them would have joined Mr. Kaepernick last season.

        • Lancaster/Reed // September 27, 2017 at 11:08 pm //

          Or maybe they are responding to a president who called fellow athletes sons of bitches, and wants to stifle their first amendment rights.

          • Yes, read my post. I clearly stated that they are acting in response to the President.

            While President Trump’s use of the phrase “sons of bitches” to describe any U.S. citizen is vile (only slightly worse than describing a quarter of the U.S. population as a “basket of deplorables”), he is not stifling their First Amendment rights and not demanding the players to stop their protests. He just wants the protesting players to find another avenue for their protest. He wants the players to respect the American flag and anthem and to respect the NFL customers who don’t share the players beliefs.

          • Lancaster/Reed // September 28, 2017 at 1:12 am //

            I never said they were trump bashing. They were responding to a president who seems to want to incite a racial devide for political purposes.

  4. I have an excellent link that covers this topic.Its was on zerohedge
    and would need to e-mail to specfic address.If interested Darrell,please let me know.

  5. Just play football – or or or we’ll call Jihad Justin !

  6. I for one was very proud of my team and organization. Americans, Canadians and an Australian both black and white standing together, linked arm in arm. This was an inclusive act of teammates friends colleagues and brothers having each other’s backs…..together.

  7. Dundas dude // September 27, 2017 at 10:46 pm //

    Please keep this divisive stuff off a football site.

  8. Edward Leslie // September 27, 2017 at 11:27 pm //

    Linking arms is a better way than sitting during the anthems anyway. I don’t personally have a problem with this sitting or kneeling, but the players better tread lightly because fans are getting very sick of this stuff already. They watch sports to get away from Politics and the issues of the front page.

    • Excellent post.

      What is even worse is that Aaron Rodgers has encouraged fans in Green Bay to show support for the players by linking arms in the stands prior to Thursday night’s game. This is likely to end poorly as this could potentially pit fan against fan and divide long time friends / aquaintances.

      The players have every right to protest (and to not be disparaged by the President). However, they need to respect the beliefs of their fans (ie- customers).

  9. CFL fanbase is skewed so old and white…any progress made by the next gen of Canadians just gets cancelled out in the comments by grumpy old men lol.

    • Your not really a very tolerant individual are you Adam. And the insults really aren’t necessary.

      • Dundas dude // September 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm //

        Thunder foot: yes, the irony of Adams post!…protesting generalizations by generalizing “old and white” men as grumpy. Bigotry is more prevelant today than it was a decade ago, the target is just different. Lord help us.

  10. Red&White Forever // September 28, 2017 at 1:13 am //

    Kapernick used to sit on the bench for the anthem until a former vet and current (at the time) teammate asked him not to, and that kneeling during the anthem would be a way to respect vets and still make his protest. Because of Kapernick’s respect for vets, he changed his protest to kneeling instead of sitting on the bench where no one noticed him. Then it became obvious, and became not about his protest, but about race. If you have a problem with NFL/CFL players expressing their rights (respectfully and peacefully), then you have a problem with race. If you don’t like what I’m saying, just remember, the people marching in Charlotte with swastikas were “good people”, and NFL players kneeling for the anthem in peaceful protest “are sons of bi**hes who should be fired.”

    • Dundas dude // September 28, 2017 at 12:10 pm //

      It is patently false to say President Trump called the people marching in Charlotte with swastikas were “good people”. Also, I get you hate the President but this is a Canadian Football site and I come here for escape from the political nonsense we’re increasingly bombarded with. I think the CFL is crazy, from a business perspective, to wade in to partisan US politics.

      • His comment was “There were good people on both sides”. Sadly, there were not. Tiki torches, chanting “Jews will not replace us” and brandishing Nazi tattoos and signs are not done by “good people” in any sense of the word.

        • Dundas dude // September 28, 2017 at 1:40 pm //

          Thank you for confirming Redandwhite forever’s claim that President Trump called nazis “good people” is false, but you also, Steve, are making a false statement by claiming Trump supports anti-Semitism and Nazis. This is a football site, but in keeping with the situation as a small business owner…drain the swamp Mr President! Go Cats!

        • Dundas dude // September 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm //

          Thank you,Steve, for confirming Redandwhite forever’s claim that President Trump called nazis “good people” is false. Also, your statement is false claiming the President supports Anti semitism and Nazis.

          This is a football site…but as a small business owner: drain the swamp Mr President! Go Cats.

  11. Nobody seems to understand that this issue has absolutely nothing to do with Free Speech. Being an employee at Starbucks doesn’t create a platform. Nor does being an employee at Burger King, Walmart or a myriad of other businesses and being an employee of a football team doesn’t create a platform either. Yes a football player is simply an employee. When these persons are kneeling they are wearing football uniforms as employees no different than any other employee. Hired to play football not to protest. Nobody is preventing them from protesting just do so on your own private time. I have suggested football players go to baseball games and protest but that would take courage.

    Football players are no more entitled to “take a knee” than Starbucks employees are. You don’t protest in the workplace plain and simple. In 99.9% of situations such behaviour would lead to firing. Finally to those complete imbeciles that suggest disrespecting the flag and anthem should not offend the military and military dead are you on crack? Of course it disrespects them.

  12. Teams own players playing rights. Teams do not own players human rights. In a democracy governed by the rule of law human rights take priority over all other rights. Imagine a football league that abused player rights. The disruption would put the viability of the league in question. Standing up and being counted is essential to the health and viability of free societies regardless of race, colour or creed. Enjoy your day!

    • This is not legally accurate. Right in Canada are all balanced under s.1 of the Charter. So in some instances your right to freedom of conscience could be restricted to protect someone else’s mobility rights (just picking two arbitrary examples)

  13. Trump is the great divider. Not only is he dividing Americans about this issue – singling out African Americans who protest police brutality through peaceful and respectful kneeling as “sons of bitches.” but he is dividing Canadians too.
    Diversity is strength. It is also mutual respect, and mutual support.

  14. RJ Johnson Jr // September 28, 2017 at 9:32 am //

    The reality is that sitting, kneeling or linking arms etc won’t change a damn thing. It’s a useless demonstration. If they want to initiate real change maybe some of these players should get out of football and into politics, or something else that may actually be meaningful towards real change. But oh yea, the money. The money always comes first, then the cause.

  15. Canada is CFL // September 28, 2017 at 11:26 am //

    ……and Trump will do or say something else and this will all be forgotten.

  16. Exactly – Players who want to play the politics role – Get out of Football

    I pay and sponsor the Canadian Football League – because I love to be entertained by Football , not USA politics!

  17. The CFL cannot afford to make the same mistake that the NFL is making now. It is a gate receipt league that requires bums in the stands.

  18. The fact of the matter is if folks want to protest, do it on your own time and own dime. If Colin Kaepernick was organizing a march in San Francisco on a Saturday to protest police violence, he’d get a bit of coverage. But he certainly got more coverage because in addition to wearing his 49’ers jersey on a Sunday, he was wearing socks that depicted cops as pigs. He’s using the audience of people watching him play football to leverage his message. I see no problem with the people who own the intellectual property of that jersey saying “not today”

  19. Leave this BS out of the game I am so sick of listening and seeing this crap I just want to watch football
    Go protest on your own time,your free to do so.Why do we have to wreck sports that is the last thing we have left to get a break from all of this.The CFL better do something quick can’t afford to loose any more fans and trust me I know a lot of fans that areal tired of this

  20. As a former player, I would not have hesitated to take a knee and supported my teammate and they would have done the same for me.
    I am better for my experience, thanks to teammates from different locales throughout North America.
    If I am going to claim that my teammates and I make up a brotherhood, then it is unconditional.
    I often find myself worrying about the safety of many of them who live in cities that are no different than Charlottesville. Many of us in Canada are fortunate to not have to live under the fear of being punished simply because we have a different skin color.
    If you are a fan of the CFL, think about the great players who wore your team’s jersey. Who represented your city, your team. Do you forget what Gerald Alphin meant to the Bombers? How about James West? Maybe Earl Winfield for Tiger-Cat fans? Tiger-Cat LB Terry Wright?
    QB Don McPherson, Stampeder SB Alan Pitts, and so many more.

    Guess what? Every player has forgotten about the scores but nota one will never forget about the friendship…about the bond.

    As many of you go on the attack and taking great pride in pointing out the sliver in someone else’s eye, you may want to be wary of the timber in your own.

    Worth noting, the players linked arms. They didn’t delay the game. It did not affect the outcome of the game. They simply chose to stand unified for a cause that is worthy. Isn’t that what Canadians do? Stand up for one another?

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