Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, has taken a shot at the NBA, and the NHL.
The Canadian Football League has filed a lawsuit against the Trudeau government, claiming the federal government is interfering with its business model.
In its lawsuit, the CFL argues the Trudeau Liberals are taking a position that would “open the floodgates” for more Canadian sports leagues to follow suit, including the NHL and the NBA.
The lawsuit also accuses the Trudeau administration of being in the business of “policing sports” and of attempting to “regulate the sport of football.”
The league’s chief executive officer, Mark Cohl, said in a statement that the lawsuit was filed “to stop the government from infringing on our constitutional rights, our right to enjoy the sport that has been an integral part of our Canadian heritage.”
Trudeau’s government has been criticized by both the NBA and NHL for being too soft on professional sports, and for its lack of engagement in the league.
The league, which has been growing at an impressive rate, has made headlines in recent months after it hired a former NFL executive as the league’s president of basketball operations.
Trudeau has taken aim at the NFL in his recent speeches, telling the NBA owners this week that the league was “in the same league as ISIS.”
“I’m not the only one who’s concerned about what’s going on,” Trudeau said in October.
“The league and the NFL are in the same class.
And that’s why I want to make sure that we’re protecting the right to pursue our dreams.”
But Trudeau’s comments have not stopped the league from taking aim at his government.
The NHL said in an email to NBC News that it is disappointed that Mr. Trudeau’s statement “suggests that the NHL is somehow a legitimate competitor to the NFL.”
In a statement to NBC Sports, the league said the league is “disappointed that the Prime Minister would take a position with the NBA that will limit access to the sport and the players, while also imposing additional burdens on the League’s ability to develop and market its game to an ever-expanding audience.”
The NHL also accused Trudeau of “playing politics” with the league by “taking a position of weakness.”
“Mr. Trudeau should have said clearly and unambiguously that the federal Government is interfering in our business, when he’s the only party leader to be in the wrong,” NHL President Don Fehr said in the statement.
“He should have stated unequivocally that the government’s policy would open the flood gates to a number of Canadian sports league organizations, while at the same time protecting the rights of the Canadian football league to grow.”
The NBA also said in its statement that it “would have preferred” the Trudeau statement to come from the NHL, but “since the Prime Minster is the one in charge, the League stands with him.”
The NFL and NBA are still working out how to end the lockout, which began last fall.
The players union is also looking to get out of the lockout agreement and negotiate a new one.
But Fehr told NBC Sports on Thursday that the NFL has no intention of doing that, and is looking at other ways to get the lockout resolved.