Finally. After last year’s no testing free for all, the CFL and its players have come together and drafted a drug policy that actually looks like it has some teeth. The old system was better than nothing, but only just, and full of truck sized holes. When the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport dared to say that publicly, the miffed league fired the lab, with no replacement. That was just bad.
At first glance the new plan looks like it deals with my biggest complaints about the old policy. First, CIS suspensions will be honoured. Gone is the loophole that allowed athletes to juice up for the combine, knowing the CFL would only hit them with the laughable first time offender’s penalty of counselling. That first time offender penalty was another sor spot, and now that includes a two game suspension. meaning the first time cheat can’t hide. Thirdly, the number of tests is waaaaaay up, and getting tested once a season is no guarantee you won’t get tested again.
Good debate on this between Nik Lewis and Rob Cote on Sportstalk Thursday. Lewis was critical of the league for suspensions without pay, in a league where no one gets rich. Cote countered correctly by asking how long the PA has to protect the cheats? And pointing out that you don’t have to be suspended…if you don’t cheat.
It’s about time.