The Canadian Football League rarely takes the step of officially banning all of its teams from signing a particular player, but we’ve seen that a few times over the past decade. Cases there include Ray Rice, Justin Cox, Jerome Messam, Teague Sherman, and Johnny Manziel, with most of those cases involving domestic violence or other criminal charges (Manziel’s only involved him breaking some unspecified condition of the agreement that let him come to the league). And now, the CFL has put Jacob Ruby (the Edmonton Elks’ lineman released Tuesday for a “breach of COVID protocols,” reportedly over misrepresenting his vaccine status) on that list, as Dave Naylor of TSN reported Wednesday:
The @CFL has issued a directive to its teams banning any of them from signing OL Jacob Ruby through the remainder of this season. Ruby was released by @elks on Tuesday for violating protocol when he misrepresented his vaccination status to his team. #CFL #Elks
— Dave Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) September 1, 2021
It’s fascinating to see that kind of escalation here, especially as the list of players previously permanently banned is so small. That appears to show how seriously the CFL is taking vaccination status reports.
But this is unfortunate for Ruby. As a 28-year-old Canadian offensive lineman who’s recently been a starter, in more normal times where vaccination status wasn’t an issue, he likely would have continued his career in Edmonton or elsewhere in the CFL for some time to come. Now, it seems that career may be at an end. (Of course, this mandate is reportedly only for this season, and perhaps a team will bring Ruby back in 2022 if the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer such an issue then, but this still doesn’t seem promising for his CFL future.)
But it’s worth noting that Rudy is not being banned for his decision not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but rather for his reported decision to misrepresent his vaccinated status. And that may add to the incentive for other players to accurately report their own vaccination status. The CFL is certainly showing that any decision other than accurately reporting one’s status can have major consequences.