Toronto Argonauts included in Arland Bruce concussion grievance

REGINA, SK, CANADA - JULY 26: Jarred Fayson
REGINA, SK, CANADA - JULY 26: Jarred Fayson /

Former wide receiver Arland Bruce III has filed a concussion-related grievance against the CFL and five teams, including the Toronto Argonauts.

Former Toronto Argonauts‘ receiver Arland Bruce was used to coming out on top during his time in the CFL. His résumé includes two Grey Cups, three All-Star selections and the single-game record for receptions (16).

Now we’re going to find out if Bruce will also be a winner off the field, in a case far more important than anything from his playing career. As reported by Gord Holder via the Ottawa Sun, the retired wideout has filed a grievance against five teams — including the Argos — and the CFL over concussion-related brain injuries.

Holder goes on to write that the Olathe, Kansas native is seeking compensation for loss of past and future wages. In addition, he wants to claim ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs.

The grievance was filed last Thursday with the CFL, the Players Relation Committee, the Argonauts and the other four teams. As of Friday afternoon, Bruce’s lawyer confirmed there had been no response.

This is an interesting stage in the ongoing general battle by professional footballers, to receive compensation for concussion-related issues. As you’d expect, it is nowhere near straight forward.

There has been mounting evidence, as well as ongoing allegations, that professional football leagues have sought to hide information pertaining to how serious the concussion situation is. The NFL in particular has come in for severe criticism.

On the opposing side, one assertion is that anyone playing football must know there was always going to be at least some risk in playing such a violent sport. Other arguments include incidents where players themselves have admitted they would attempt to hide the extent of a concussion, because they wanted to continue playing.

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There are cases of players saying they wouldn’t play if they had been made aware of exactly how dangerous the game was. this is conflicted by those who would be out there regardless, because of their love for football and/or thee need to earn money.

And so it goes back and forth… Generally speaking, we shouldn’t expect this matter to go away or be resolved anytime soon.

This isn’t the first time Bruce has taken action against the CFL. As per Holder, he previously filed a lawsuit against the league, all nine teams and former commissioner Mark Cohon in 2014.

The respondents successfully argued the case should be heard in arbitration rather than court. The reasoning was because Bruce had been a member of the CFL Players’ Association.

The 40-year-old applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, but the application was denied. As reported at the time by Dan Ralph via CBC Sports, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for refusing to hear the case.

While this is standard practice for decisions on leaves to appeal, Bruce’s lawyer — both then and now — was understandably frustrated. As per Ralph, Robyn Wishart said:

"“I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t saddened and surprised. I’m surprised because I thought (the Supreme Court of Canada) would hear it.“You don’t get any reasons for it … you can’t answer the ‘Why?’ And that’s hard for me, because so many families were waiting for this and obviously that’s the first question they have, but this isn’t over.”"

As per the latest development, Wishsart was true to her word. We now wait to discover how the CFL, Toronto Argonauts and the other four teams respond.

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What’s your take regarding the ongoing concussion issue? Are you on the players side, or do you have some understanding/appreciation for the position of the CFL and NFL? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.