Calgary Stampeders' Bo Levi Mitchell calls for unity as CFL moves on
Bo Levi Mitchell doesn’t know what the CFL is going to look like in 2021 any more than the rest of us do.
The Calgary Stampeders quarterback may be arguably the most recognizable face and is inarguably one of the highest paid players in the entire league.
Just like the rest of the football community, though, he found out that the CFL’s 2020 season was cancelled on Monday morning.
Mitchell’s barely had time to wrap his head around the decision, so he’s not at the point where he can offer any detailed strategies for strengthening the league as it heads into an uncertain future.
He does know, however, that the players union and the league itself are going to need to avoid tearing each other down.
“There’s a lot of things that go on behind closed doors with this league,” Mitchell said Tuesday. “This league has been a part of this country for 100 years, and it’s not easy to keep a business going that long, and there’s been a lot of turmoil since that time.
“This is one of those times, and we have to band together instead of pointing fingers and looking at each other and saying, ‘Where’s mine? Where’s mine?’
“To me, I’ve spoken on it before — I just want the CFL and the (CFLPA) work together in a more unified sense. Not just airing our dirty laundry in the media all the time.”
Speculation has already begun about what the CFL might look like when it returns to the field in — hopefully — 2021.
Will the league finally pull the trigger on moving the season forward by a month or two? Could a new collective bargaining agreement be put in place that would limit quarterback salaries for stars such as Mitchell and BC Lions QB Mike Reilly? How low will a new salary cap go as teams try to stay afloat despite losing almost all their revenue in 2020?
Whatever happens, there’s little question the CFL is going to look different, and there’s a long and arduous process ahead as everyone who is invested in the league’s present and future tries to figure out a way out of the mess it currently finds itself in.
Mitchell is happy to be involved, although he stressed that his opinion is no more or less valuable than that of anyone else.
“It’s a bad situation for everybody,” Mitchell said. “We all want to be playing football, but I think we have to look at it in the most positive way we can, which is that it gives ourselves, as a league and as teams, and find ways to make it better and make it stronger for everybody.”
In many ways, Mitchell’s words were similar to those of Stampeders president/GM John Hufnagel, who spoke about what needed to happen for the CFL going forward on Monday and said a “correction” was needed.
That’s something everybody seems to agree on. It’s a starting point, too, for the unity Mitchell believes is needed going forward.
“Right now, we can just come together and really find a way and say, ‘Hey, how can we make the CFL better?” And not just for next year but for the next 10 years and 50 years — for the guys who come after us,” Mitchell said. “I think this is a good chance to do it.”
Mitchell’s willing to help, but does he have any suggestions?
Well … only one for now.
“My only suggestion would be move the season up, move it up to March,” Mitchell said. “But that’s a hard thing to do now because of COVID, and when we start the season up, we want fans in the stands.”