CFL commissioner Randy AmbrosieCFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie came under fire after the league — whose team owners include some of Canada’s wealthiest individuals — asked for a government bailout.

Nostalgia used to justify taxpayer bailouts of Canadian football: researchers

If the federal government bails out the Canadian Football League with public monies, it will base that decision on nostalgia, argues an opinion piece published Wednesday in the Hamilton Spectator by UWindsor kinesiology professor Craig Greenham and his former student Ben Andrews.

“The CFL’s challenges may be unique, but its hat-in-hand response follows an established pattern,” they write. League commissioner Randy Ambrosie has asked for $150 million from the federal government: $30 million now and up to $120 million more if the COVID-19 pandemic forces curtailment of its season.

“There are clear parallels between the CFL’s response to COVID-19 and its actions in the late-1980s, a period when several teams dodged insolvency only with the injection of public funds,” the piece says. “When … the CFL’s vacant stadiums contradicted its claims of national unification, only nostalgic appeals to former glory could legitimize its cultural value.”

Read the full column, “Can nostalgia save the CFL?”

Andrews is currently pursuing graduate study in political science at Dalhousie University. While an Outstanding Scholar at the University of Windsor, he worked with Dr. Greenham on several research projects on the CFL, including an article pending publication in the Journal of Sport History.

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