Football: Swift reaction to CFL's idea to reduce Canadian starters

In any labour negotiation, each side puts some things on the table knowing the other side will reject it and get to feel it has a win. It's part of the dance.

This just an outsider's way of noting one wonders whether the CFL is earnest or ephemeral about cutting the number of Canadian starters per team from seven to four when it enters talks for a new CBA over the off-season. It's pretty clear commish Mark Cohon might have a hard time winning the image scrimmage. Nuts-and-bolts Xs-and-Os types will admit finding Canadian depth can be problematic, but the optics are bad. It's pretty easy make this out as a motherhood issue, even when it's just part of bargaining.

Queen's defensive end Osie Ukwuoma, a Calgary Stampeders draft pick, told the Toronto Sun,
"That (decreasing numbers) would be very detrimental to a lot of guys. Why do that? The CFL is a Canadian game and I think it should be treated as such.

"I don't think we should have the mentality that the Americans are always better. It's important to at least keep those (seven spots)."
Ukwuoma's take is spot-on, even as one notes he's a player who would stand to lose out in such a scenario. The Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones also went straight for the gut, even hammering Cohon as someone who would sell out Canada:
"Maybe commissioner Mark Cohon spent so much time growing up in the U.S. and overseas that he doesn't understand that 'It's Our League' (marketing campaign) hit a chord, not only with the people who sit in the stands, but the ones wearing the uniforms on the field and living next door.

"This league needs more Canadian starters, not fewer. Make it four (instead of 7) and, unless the guy is a kicker, there would no longer be a reason for a Canadian kid to aspire to play in the Canadian Football League."
It is early in the game. The CFL, honestly, looks penny-wise and pound-foolish. It might be cheaper and easier to take someone from a major college in the NCAA or off the NFL scrap heap than it is to develop a player from a Canadian school. At the same time, when the general perception is that the country's in recession, you don't want it look like you're taking jobs (and starter salaries) away from Canadian players. It would be far better to try to be prescriptive about better developing domestic talent.

The most important word in the CFL (Terry Jones, Sun Media)
Canadian dis-content; CFLers young and old decry idea of cutting homegrown starters to four (Terry Koshan, Sun Media)
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  1. I've had 4 season tickets to both the Ti-Cats and the Argos for about 8 years now.

    I've cancelled them both and will not reconsider purchasing them again until the game becomes Canadian again.

  2. OK, what is your criteria for the game being Canadian? I'm just interested.

  3. This is consistent with the CFL's grassroots football initiatives. Help grow the game of football in local communities. I did not realize it was communities in the U.S. Time to trade my CFL season tickets for Bills tickets.

    I wonder if Garry Bettman is advising the CFL commish.

  4. I'd consider the CFL "Canadian" if it had a majority of players and teams in Canada; if it had identifiable Canadian stars in most major markets; if it was committed to developing the game in Canada at all levels; and if its owners were, if not Canadian, at least Canadian-friendly (and agreed with the previous requirements).

    But then, I've been outside the country lately, so maybe I'm not qualified to judge Canadian-ness, at least according to Terry Jones.

  5. Bad timing from an Ottawa standpoint. The Lansdowne Live project is coming to crunch time. There are those who do do not want to see a stadium at Lansdowne with a CFL team. This news about taking The Canadian out of the CFL just gives opponents more ammunition. The CFL is not very Canadian they will say, so why should be care about having a team. Big mistake Mr. Cohon , to suggest further Americanization of the CFL just days before The Lansdowne Live project comes before Ottawa City Council again.