Montreal may have won the Grey Cup, but that didn’t stop an emotional Alouettes player from criticizing what he believes was a lack of French during the game — seemingly a dig about a team that wasn’t supposed to make it to the final.
In a post-victory interview with RDS, defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy yelled, “They never believed in us, never,” referring to the team’s unlikely road to victory.
“You look everywhere, and it’s all written in English,” he continued, looking out into Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont.
Dequoy also claims the television guide had incorrectly stated the final would be played between Toronto and Winnipeg.
“But you know what? Keep your English,” he cried. “We’re going to bring the Cup to Montreal; we’re going to bring it to Quebec.”
Dequoy admitted Monday as the Alouettes arrived home as champions that his emotions got a little high after Montreal’s triumph – and that he has nothing against English people. He speaks English every day of his life, he said.
He said his message was that the CFL is a bilingual league, just as Canada is as a country, and he felt French Canadians and the French language had been disrespected.
The CFL also received criticism after the national anthem was sung exclusively in English during the East Division final between Toronto and Montreal on Nov. 11.
“For me, what the message was is just … the CFL is bilingual. The CFL is French and English as Canada as a country is,” said Dequoy on the tarmac at the Montreal-Mirabel International Airport. “We just felt that … the French-Canadian was not respected, the French language was not respected.
“I just felt disrespected for me and for my province and for my heritage, and just when the emotion is so high after the game, what I actually meant was not (against) the anglophone people, it was just ‘you can keep the sign in English.’ That’s what I meant.”
Reached by CTV News on Monday, CFL spokesperson Lucas Barrett wrote in an email that there was “significant” presence of French last week in Hamilton.
“For Grey Cup Sunday as an example there was signage at the festival events, on the field and around the stadium. There was also digital signage online, bilingual ceremonies, anthem and PA Announcer,” he said.
Sunday, the Montreal Alouettes beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28-24 in what many are calling a “Cinderella story” — the team entered the game an eight-point underdog.
It’s the Alouettes’ first CFL title since 2010, following an uncertain off-season that saw the franchise taken over by the league in February before being bought by Quebec businessman and former politician Pierre Karl Péladeau.
Contrarily, this is the Blue Bombers’ fourth straight year in the final.
The Montreal Alouettes now have eight Grey Cups.
With files from The Canadian Press