Watching the CFL up close and personal

This was the first CFL game I’ve attended in person in nearly three decades

Watching the CFL up close and personalThe Canadian Football League’s 2022 regular season is over. The Edmonton Elks had a bye week. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the BC Lions 24-9 on Oct. 28. Three final games were played on Oct. 29: the Calgary Stampeders beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 36-10, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Ottawa Redblacks 23-16 and the Montreal…

Spending public money on stadiums simply robs taxpayers

It takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the rich

Spending public money on stadiums simply robs taxpayers“The NFL is the richest sports franchise, full of billionaire capitalists demanding socialist handouts so they can make even more profits.”         – Ralph Nader The billionaire owners of the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills, Terry and Kim Pegula, have landed US$850 million in taxpayer dollars for the construction of a new…

Why can’t football make brain health a priority?

American society loves football so much it avoids hard discussions about the sport’s safety

Why can’t football make brain health a priority?We found out recently that a bright young man with a big heart and promising future died because of football. Twelve-year National Football League veteran and three-time pro bowler Vincent Jackson, who died at age 38 in February, had stage 2 CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) his family announced on Thursday. CTE is a degenerative brain…

CFL goes from near extinction to remarkable recovery in one season

Fans returned in droves and the league’s economic engine is now moving in the right direction

CFL goes from near extinction to remarkable recovery in one seasonThe Canadian Football League had much to celebrate on Sunday. For one thing, this year’s Grey Cup was an exciting and memorable contest. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-25 in overtime to win the 108th Grey Cup at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. (These teams played in the previous Grey Cup in…

The ‘woke mob’ didn’t get Aaron Rodgers. He got himself

The unvaccinated don’t seem to get that life is a team sport, not a me sport

The ‘woke mob’ didn’t get Aaron Rodgers. He got himselfAaron Rodgers has every right to hold whatever thoughts and beliefs he might have about COVID-19 and vaccines. But that freedom ends when his actions have a negative – or potentially negative – health impact on others. What the unvaccinated don’t seem to get is that this game called life we’re all playing is a…

How one athlete’s courage has given the LGBTQ community new strength

National Football League player Carl Nassib has given the battle against homophobia in sports and society in general a huge boost

How one athlete’s courage has given the LGBTQ community new strengthLas Vegas Raiders’ defensive lineman Carl Nassib announced he was gay last week. He’s the first active National Football League player to do so. It was a landmark announcement that will help thousands of young LGBTQ athletes and non-athletes alike. It’s a milestone that has – and will continue to – garner a lot of…

Coaches at all levels treat fun as a negative. It’s not

Humanistic coaches focus on encouragement and positive motivation. They believe humans seek out fun and want to actualize themselves

Coaches at all levels treat fun as a negative. It’s not“Fun is good.” – Mike Veeck, creator of a variety of innovative and fun baseball promotions Unfortunately, the vast majority of coaches, from the youth level to the professional level, adopt a militaristic coaching style. They believe a taskmaster mentality is how you get the best from athletes. It’s not. “Nothing, according to the research,…

Concussions affect elite athletes’ mental health, new research suggests

U of A study shows anxiety, depression more likely among football players after a concussion than after other body injuries

Concussions affect elite athletes’ mental health, new research suggestsElite athletes report more anxiety and depression in the immediate aftermath of a concussion than those who have suffered an orthopedic injury, according to a concussion study that further builds the case that head injuries are an injury unlike any other. “Athletes get injured all the time and they have to deal with the stress of…

If a team name is offensive, change it without delay

Why is the Cleveland baseball team waiting until 2022 to make the change? Let the healing begin now

If a team name is offensive, change it without delayFinally, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball (MLB) team says it plans to replace its racist Indians nickname. That’s great news. The Indigenous shouldn’t be used as nicknames and mascots for sports teams in the same way lions, bears and other animals are. Period. But why is the Cleveland organization waiting until 2022 to make the change?…

Head injuries and football go hand in hand

Head injuries and football go hand in handAccording to a study from researchers at the Boston University CTE Center, each year a person endures repetitive head collisions from playing football the risk of developing degenerative brain disease increases by 30 per cent. In addition, for every 2.6 years of play, the risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) doubles. This study quantifies…

It’s time to rename the Edmonton Eskimos

As other leagues rethink racist team names, the Eskimos' statement in support of Black Lives Matter rings hollow

It’s time to rename the Edmonton EskimosIn the space of a few hours on July 3, three North American sports teams announced they were going to reassess their racist names. Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins of the National Football League and the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League have for years resisted calls to drop their team nicknames. But…

NFL all talk no action until Kaepernick signed

NFL all talk no action until Kaepernick signedAll of a sudden, the National Football League tells us it’s seen the light. The league’s leaders tell us their draconian reaction to players kneeling during the U.S. national anthem in protest of police brutality and social injustice was all wrong. That they’re very sorry. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even appears to be trying to…

Do we choose chaos or community?

It takes true courage to hear another person’s point of view, admit we were wrong, shift our beliefs and move forward

Do we choose chaos or community?One of the most important qualities of a good leader is the ability to listen. It’s very easy to jump on a bandwagon and it’s easy to jump to conclusions. It takes true courage to hear another person’s point of view, admit we were wrong, shift our beliefs and move forward. To be honest, my…

NFL draft gives starving sports fans a morsel

But many questions remain about restarting professional sports, including how all those enormous salaries will be paid

NFL draft gives starving sports fans a morselWith virtually no sports competition in North America in this COVID-19-blighted spring, the National Football League draft this week has taken on epic proportions. The fact that the teams and the players they select starting on Thursday may not even play in 2020 is irrelevant. We finally have a sporting event on TV that you…

Don’t expect a pandemic to slow down the NFL

The league has a new deal with players, free-agency frenzy begins this week and big-time bargaining for TV rights is on the horizon

Don’t expect a pandemic to slow down the NFLThe National Football League has always thought it doesn’t play by the same rules as everyone else, so it shouldn’t be a total shock that – in the midst of a global pandemic – the league announced its new collective bargaining agreement with players that will take it through 2030. It also announced that it…

Short and sweet: pro sports need to pare down the length of games

Fans are staying away from stadiums in great part because the games take too long to play. The new XFL is trying a number of modifications to cut the length of games

Short and sweet: pro sports need to pare down the length of gamesFootball fans have spoken: the games last too damn long. Delays, reviews, timeouts and injuries turn 18 minutes of action into three-plus hours. At least that’s the results of research done for the new XFL, a football league that starts play on Feb. 8, right after the National Football League’s Super Bowl. The startup league…

NFL coaches need to embrace data and probability

If coaching has a capital offence, its ignoring the obvious probabilities that a good analysis could provide

NFL coaches need to embrace data and probabilityWe’re in the heart of the football malpractice season. Across the frozen tundras, National Football League coaches are being overwhelmed by the pressure of making key calls during the post-season. On Saturday, Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien was like a punch-drunk fighter from the very first quarter. Quickly down 7-0 after Buffalo drove on their…

How do we make sense of, and manage, football’s violence?

Head-first tackles, helmet swinging and devastating hip injuries all add to a game’s growing reputation for chaos

How do we make sense of, and manage, football’s violence?A couple incidents from last week’s football action have garnered a lot of media and fan attention: Myles Garrett’s bonehead use of Mason Rudolph’s helmet as a weapon and the terrible hip injury to Alabama’s star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. First, the Garrett situation. Twitter-verse is afire with emotional chatter about banning Garrett from the National…

Finally, NCAA must compensate its athletes

And it will have ramifications for Canadian student athletes and the hockey leagues that compete with U.S. colleges for talent

Finally, NCAA must compensate its athletesWhat were the burghers who run California doing instead of upgrading their power grid? Let me see. Banning fur? Check. Undocumented aliens on state boards and commissions? Check. Allowing college sports stars to get paid for the use of their likeness? Check. Really? After all this time, they’re going to let the top performers in…

Progress? Sport? The two shall never meet

From disputed strike zones to goal-line uncertainty to bloody high-sticks, major-league officiating can't seem to embrace high-tech

Progress? Sport? The two shall never meetIt’s Game Three of the 2019 World Series and the Washington Nationals hope to extend their surprising 2-0 lead in games over Houston. The Nats have revival project Anibal Sanchez on the mound to give Washington fans their first home-field win in a Series since 1933. But the Astros are off to a quick lead.…

Rising from the ashes to achieve greatness

It hurts to be rejected or see a dream come to an end, but it shouldn't impact our ability to live with integrity and find success

Rising from the ashes to achieve greatnessWe all face disappointments and challenges. We don’t get picked for a team, we don’t get a promotion, we’re turned down by a potential lover or we see a dream come to an end. What’s important in life isn’t what happens to us, however. It’s how we respond. Great people aren’t without problems. They’re people…

Economic justice on the way for U.S. college athletes

The hypocrisy in college athletics promotes the amateur myth and tries to suppress the fact that the young athletes have significant market value

Economic justice on the way for U.S. college athletesCalifornia is leading the way towards economic justice for U.S. college athletes. The California State Assembly unanimously passed the Fair Pay to Play Act recently. If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bill, or allows it to go into law without his signature, college athletes in California will be able to profit off of their own…

Fans’ expectations of athletes are out of whack

Those who booed retiring Indianapolis Colt Andrew Luck should be ashamed of themselves. Athletes aren’t warriors created by central casting for our weekend enjoyment

Fans’ expectations of athletes are out of whackToo many sports fans view athletes as robots designed to play games for their entertainment. They sit in the stands or on their sofas, a cold beer in their hands, and yell at injured players for being “too soft” and “not tough enough.” They think jocks should just “suck it up” and get on the…

Video replay: is the solution worse than the crime?

We can't go back to spitballing the big calls. For the teams and the fans, too much depends on getting it right

Video replay: is the solution worse than the crime?Yogi Berra is notorious for saying “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Yogi was warning about jumping to conclusions in close contests. But he never foresaw a contest that never ended. For reference, consider the he 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. That race will probably never be over for those who participated in or…

Causing a commotion based on innocent colours

What’s in a name? Apparently plenty when it comes to sports teams and imaginary slights

Causing a commotion based on innocent coloursIrving Berlin’s song White Christmas is a classic. But if the logic of a special interest group in Winnipeg prevails, the song’s name would have to be changed to something like Grey Christmas. Black Space Winnipeg, a non-profit organization that lobbies for safe spaces for Winnipeg's black community, argues that the popular Whiteout event put…

Causing a commotion based on innocent colours

What’s in a name? Apparently plenty when it comes to sports teams and imaginary slights

Causing a commotion based on innocent coloursIrving Berlin’s song White Christmas is a classic. But if the logic of a special interest group in Winnipeg prevails, the song’s name would have to be changed to something like Grey Christmas. Black Space Winnipeg, a non-profit organization that lobbies for safe spaces for Winnipeg's black community, argues that the popular Whiteout event put…

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s Melnyk

Far too many odious owners haunt the world of professional sports, preying on ticket-buying fans

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s MelnykIt takes a lot of talent to screw up a National Hockey League franchise in a Canadian city. But Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is up to the challenge. The Melnyk misery tour has reduced Ottawa to the frozen equivalent of an Albanian shoe factory. The Sens are four points clear in the Titanic Cup, my…

Baseball must embrace its uniqueness and stay retro

Every time MLB moves away from its history, tradition and nostalgia, the game doesn’t improve a little, it dies a little

Baseball must embrace its uniqueness and stay retroBaseball is a significantly different sport than football, basketball and hockey. It’s that uniqueness, and the tradition that comes from the fact that baseball has changed very little over the years, that accounts for a lot of its popularity. “There’s no crying in baseball!” said Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) in the movie A…

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinct

Analytical detail determines winners and losers. So why do coaches insist on winging it at crucial moments?

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinctI’m reading Ted Barris’s book The Dam Busters, about the epic 1943 raid by Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force flyers on the Möhne and Eder dams. The raid was famous for its risk – 53 men were killed, 18 of them Canadian – and for the new technologies used by the bombers…

Is gambling a big deal to the NFL? You can bet on it

With billions now being bet legally on sports, the simple outcome of the Super Bowl game will no longer be the only story

It’s late in Super Bowl LIII this Sunday. The driving New England Patriots, favoured by a field goal, have a three-point lead in the game. Hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide ride on whether the Los Angeles Rams can keep them out of the end zone or whether quarterback Tom Brady will push it in…