New CFL drug test plan 'the right way'

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:46 AM ET

Argonauts union representative Bryan Crawford was smiling from ear to ear yesterday.

Not only can he go back to focussing on football, but he can do it feeling very good about the deal he and the rest of the league’s team representatives negotiated.

All in all, Crawford is very pleased with the ratification of the four-year deal. Included are a provision for performance-enhancing drugs beginning in 2011.

A first test earns an offender mandatory testing and counselling. A second positive test gets him a three-game suspension. Slip up and get caught a third time and it’s a year. A fourth positive test is a lifetime ban.

Crawford likes the message the introduction of testing sends to the rest of society.

“I think it sends the message that drugs in sport isn’t acceptable,” the 6th-year Argonaut said. “You need to choose to do things the right way. That being said, I don’t know if it will impact every single kid out there. There will be people who choose to do it or not regardless of whether there’s a policy at the highest level of football in Canada. But I think that sends the right message.”

Crawford said the players’ biggest win in the negotiations wasn’t the marginal bump in minimum salary, or the boost in the players medical-coverage plan but managing to fight off a proposal that would have seen the CFL work day bumped from four hours to six hours.

“For the average person that may not sound like a lot, but the fact of the matter is when you come in for extra treatment at 7 a.m., you stay to work out and you do extra film, it’s a full day anyway,” he said.

“It’s really paramount especially when you are involved in a career that isn’t for life,” Crawford continued.

“It’s a short window and you need to have time to set yourself up for something after football. That is something we work really hard at and actually part of this agreement includes career counselling and trying to help guys transition. I try to really inform guys that this is something they need to be thinking about in their first year not their third or fourth years.”

“Obviously no one here is making millions and going to retire on that for the rest of their lives.”


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