Saturday, June 7, 2014


Fair warning to kind readers-- this is gonna be a rambler. 

Talkin' about football is fun. Writin' about CFLPA vs CFL ain't fun. Ain't gonna be fun readin' neither.... But it's gotta get done. 

Wade through it if ya can-- guarantee there'll be a few things ya haven't heard, read or considered before.  Preemptive apologies for the wormhole meandering......  guess it's A-- seen enough stars to have our own constellation-- THING....  good thing is, generations of weathering Saskatchewan's seasonal onslaughts taught us, long ago, to recognize what's what with what's trickling down the back of our necks.... RAIN or PISS. 

To remind, the CFL with all its vagaries, is 100% unique to any other pro sports league or any other Canadian business and the players are 100% different than any other labour pool.  

For a LONG time now, and even more so today, every CFL locker room has been comprised of a core group of CANADIAN KEEPERS (high demand/low supply), a few ENTRENCHED AMERICANS (proven & elite) and then the remainder who enjoy variable time lines in the meat grinder-- depending on the-- "for whatever reasons"


Another key dynamic is remnant from the days of nine disparate clubs and it's-- every man for himself CFL Circus Daze-- owners, GM's, coaches and players. History and the evolution of all things CFL factors big in the NOW.

1st the players

The players are unjustly and, in our view, immorally under paid. Particularly those paid close to the league minimum. 

Since the brief window of affluence in the early 80's-- to now-- the players spread cheeks and bent over-- every time-- to help keep the league afloat. Salaries cut.... then cut again from 16th's to 18th's....  2 games in 4 days travel budgets.... etc. ad absurdum. 

Let's look at the minimum salary-- hard fought for in the strike of '74 that pushed it to $11,000-- in today's dollars that's approximately $55,500. Much more than the current proposed minimum.

In '74 the $CDN was at par or above the $USD. Also, the GST etc. etc. weren't part of the picture. In '74 many players had other jobs to supplement their CFL salaries. With the training and other demands on today's players, outside employment is not feasible. 

Times have changed. Hyper fragmented-- markets, exposure, access, etc. all, as current curiosities percolate to the bizarre.

This is the central premise and pivotal concept to consider.... 

What is a player's TRUE value to CFL fans, media and to the league?

How is it possible-- the low on the totem pole guys-- IN FULL GEAR ON GAME DAY, under the lights and in front of the cameras-- playing on O, D and flying down the field on special teams get paid less than-- as examples: the police patrolling the sideline, the media, the broadcast crews-- camera men etc., and less than most fans... including these entry level positions offered on the Rider website, (according to sources, potentially paying up to $58,000)?

The city of Regina pays more than 500 employees $100,000 plus. Good for the city employees, they require and deserve it. How many Riders get $100,000 plus?


Long time CFL-er Angus Reid, nailed it. 

"They have to bring up the bottom end so you can call yourself a professional league where every player can make it their only job,' Reid said. "They need a minimum salary to compete against the other guy who might be getting paid more. Then we could all call ourselves professional athletes." *

To further Angus' point, check out what the American football coach's, "go to site", for all things coaching-- hires, fires, trends etc.-- on May 21, had to say.

"There's a labor dispute going on in the CFL. Why American coaches should care.

Outside of the union dispute going on at Northwestern, there is currently labor peace in America's major sports. The NFL, NBA and NHL have emerged from their recent labor battles and are currently in a cease fire until their current collective bargaining agreements expire, and Major League Baseball has been in a constant state of relative harmony since its 1994 strike.
North of the border, though, they're gearing up for what has already become a public labor dispute. 
The Canadian Football League doesn't have the history of labor strife that its American counterparts have suffered through, there just hasn't been enough money to fight over. With the league on the verge of a lockout, the CFL has forwarded the following offer to its players:
We are not nearly nuanced enough to give a reasoned take on whether or not this a fair offer. That's not the point.
Look at that minimum salary: $45,000. Convert it back to American dollars, and the league minimum player is earning $41,115 before taxes. Should the players' union take the league's offer, five years from now the lowest-paid CFL player will earn $55,000, or $50,297 in American dollars. 
The NFL rookie minimum is $420,000 in 2014. Clearly, every player is choosing the NFL over the CFL, but that's not an option for most players. American college players head to Canada as a way to catch the eye of an NFL team, extend the dream of playing football for as long as possible, or both. 
But as coaches, you should be as informed as possible if an undecided player seeks counsel on whether to join the CFL or follow another path in life. He can continue playing football in Canada, but he won't get rich doing it." 

Clearly, and not just in the player's minds... the players are being low ball exploited, at a time when the league is in an obvious position to pay more... so pay more! 

Very disappointed at the CFLPA's last offer which lowered the minimums. 

MEMO TO FLORY! Bump the minimums back up in the next proposal. Based on the league's tactics so far, why not? 

When in doubt, question authority. Especially self proclaimed, Napoleonic petty tyrant-- take it or leave it-- authority.

The current MORPHAGE CFL configuration; 3 community owned clubs, 1 owner 2 clubs, 1 new ownership group with massive real estate side deals, etc.-- presents a conundrum slop pail full-- of perplexing problems. 

But it's also a MORPH that affords myriad methods to spin numbers and present business cases. JUST BECAUSE COHON OR COPELAND SAY IT.... DON'T MAKE IT SO!!!

There's no nice way to say this-- Cohon & cronies are BENT ON BULLYING the players. Devious dictating, disrespecting, undermining actions of double-dealin' dupery. A nasty bit of business that, we believe, suggests "certain" hidden agendas. We'll go deep with that later.

It doesn't add up.

Again, the central question: What value do CFL fans, media and the league place on the players who play the game?

Is a purported business case, predicated and dependant on economically exploited labour truly sustainable? The product on the field has NEVER been better due to the level of talent and the quality of the football op's, league wide.  

If the fans and media think the CFL has access to the ELITE, of the abundance of available-- other than NFL talent-- IN PERPETUITY..... think again. 

Refer to the history lessons of the 80's and 90's and the effect-- diminished import talent, sub-standard TV coverage, restricted access to view the product and no marketing had on CFL economics. 

As early as the late 70's, then CFL commissionaire-- tight fisted-- Jake Gaudar, despite CFLPA pleas, refused to create a marketing position with the stand, "Canadians have always watched the CFL and will always watch the CFL".  How did that work out?

Deja vu all over again? 

The negative perception-- in process-- south of the border combined with the probability of future development leagues that will offer superior after tax, after currency exchange-- cash in hand alternatives; rings eerily familiar.

Refer to Angus Reid's statement regarding young non-import talent.

Bottom line.... pay the players as much as is possible without the BULLYING BULLSHIT. Nothing good for the future of the CFL can come from it. Seem to recall being told, "THIS IS OUR LEAGUE".

Which segues to the CFL shot caller configurations. 

To be continued tomorrow..... or there abouts.