CFL players deserve a Raise

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Of all professional athletes, CFLers are the most grossly underpaid. Given the dynamics of Canadian professional football, the players’ salaries will always be modest compared to the wages earned by the stars of the NFL, NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball.

But here’s hoping that the stars of three-down football, and even the less-heralded grunters who populate the special teams, all receive healthy raises as a result of the next collective bargaining agreement between the league and the CFL Players’ Association.

The existing CBA is to expire this spring, the day before training camps open. As per terms of the agreement, each team adhered to a $4.4-million salary cap in 2013. The minimum salary: $45,000.

Earlier in 2013, the league and TSN announced a landmark agreement that, according to some reports, will be worth $40 million per season when it takes effect in 2014. The CFL reportedly received $15 million in TV revenues this past season.

Operatives with the CFLPA have assuredly taken notice of the numbers, both real and speculated, and will raise them when negotiations kick off in the spring.

The talks have typically been amicable, partially because the CFLPA can hardly be described as militant or hard-line.

The players’ association has generally been understanding of the financial hardships the league has encountered, with the result being that the CFL has been a lockout-free, strike-free zone for 40 years. The only disruption to date was a 12-day strike in 1974.

The time has arrived, though, for the players to transfer their aggression from the playing field to the boardroom. They must insist on a deal that is vastly superior to previous CBAs.

If not now, when?

Granted, trouble spots remain. The southern Ontario market (see: Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats) is a perennial concern.

Overall, the league is strong, as evidenced by the stadium boom. With new or renovated facilities, there will be increased expenses. In fairness to the teams, that factor must be taken into consideration.

Nonetheless, this is the time for the players to cash in.

They are the show.

They are the ones who absorb the hits over 18 regular-season games — two more than are played by each NFL team — plus the post-season.

They are the ones who allow the CFL and TSN to boast of impressive ratings, especially around playoff time.

Ratings equal cash, and oodles of it, but how much of it filters down to the players?

Consider the case of Darian Durant, who quarterbacked the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the 2013 Grey Cup title. For his trouble, he earned upwards of $300,000, and that is nice money. But keep in mind that the lowest-paid NHLer this season will earn the league minimum of US$550,000.

Also consider the example of Roughriders tailback Kory Sheets, who was named the most valuable player of the 2013 Grey Cup game after rushing for 197 yards and two touchdowns. According to some media reports, Sheets’ 2013 contract called for $60,000, plus bonuses.

And then there is defensive tackle Keith Shologan, who was claimed by the Ottawa Redblacks in the recent expansion draft. The Roughriders were hoping that Shologan’s salary ($130,000) would scare off the Redblacks’ brass.

Such is the economic climate in the CFL. A salary of $130,000 can raise alarm bells.

But what is really alarming? The expansive list of unremarkable NHL players who receive a salary that exceeds the entire payroll of a CFL team.

That scroll of names include non-Hall of Famers such as Mike Ribeiro (who is to make US$5.5 million this season, according to, Dustin Byfuglien ($5.2M), Ales Hemsky ($5M), Paul Martin ($5M), Stephen Weiss ($4.9M), Ryane Clowe ($4.85M), Jason Garrison ($4.6M), R.J. Umberger ($4.6M), Olli Jokinen ($4.5M), Ville Leino ($4.5M), Jason Pominville ($4.5M), Teddy Purcell ($4.5M) and Mr. Hockey 2.0, the legendary Fedor Tyutin ($4.5M).

Is anyone rootin’ for Tyutin?

Does anyone pay good money for the expressed purpose of watching him play?

Didn’t think so.

People do pay, however, to watch the stars of the CFL — Durant, Sheets, Weston Dressler, John Chick, Travis Lulay, J.C. Sherritt, Jon Cornish, Ricky Ray, Chad Owens, et al.

Yet, the salary of each of those players pales in comparison to that of the Columbus Blue Jackets No. 6 defenceman.

That will never change, given the relative economies of the NHL and CFL. Even so, the disparity in compensation is rather jarring, when you compare a CFL star who does attract eyeballs to one of the NHL’s robotic chip-and-chase or ring-it-off-the-glass specialists.

By this standard, especially, CFL players are woefully undercompensated.

Meanwhile, the league as a whole is about to derive benefits from a once-unimaginable television deal.

Hopefully the players will share in the riches — of which they, more than anyone in professional sports, are richly deserving.

I always thought the TV Revenue should equal that of the salary cap. Which would be approx. $4.5 Million/team. Which really isn't much more that it is now. I still think TSN is getting a bargain on the CFL, with the ratings it gets, they should be paying double.

Until the Argonauts and Ti-Cats are stable, I don't see how player salaries could go up.

You are right until all teams start making money they shouldn't be raising salaries. As for comparing to other sports, that is unfair. They only play 18 games a year, NBA and the NHL play 80 plus games a year, baseball 140 games. The only comparable when it comes to games is the NFL, and we don't have a $3 Billion TV contract and average attendance at 65,000 a game.
Players coming to Canada to play in the CFL know that the pay isn't much and if there was no CFL they wouldn't be playing football or they would be playing for much less in the Arena league, semi-pro or in Europe.

TSN getting a bargain? We don't know what revenue they are pulling in from the ads. TSN doubled the contract with the CFL this year, I think it's around $40 million, that was based on TV ratings doubling from 350,000 or so up to 750,000.
Five years from now will the average ratings double? or has the ratings plateaued? If ratings double again. then they should expect to double the TV contract revenue.

Pay the performers with TV money in a gate driven business :roll: Bob is that you ? :lol:

Taking into account that fixed costs a higher percentage of revenues than other pro leagues. Salaries should be around 30 to 35 percent of the average of total team revenues compared with 50 to 57 percent that of the NBA and NHL.

Which means total salaries should be somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5 million a year. Now taking into account the nine game list that is not factored into the SMS. The players are getting shortchanged between 1 and 2 million dollars per team. If you multiply that by the 9 teams (until next season) that is a minimum of 9 million dollars divided by lets say 50 guys that's 20k per player and we haven't even talked about the Grey Cup where players as a whole get less than 10 percent of the cut.

So the fix is easy. You increase minimum salary by 20k TODAY and you increase the caps by 333k every year for the next 3 years. the increase in min wage will eat up a portion of the cap and the rest of the guys can fight for the rest over their regular contract negotiations.

Minimum wage of 46k is way too low. This is really a year round obligation now for players and the minimum salary should be at least 60k. That's my biggest beef with the current system. Practice roster stipend of 500.00 a week should be abolished as it puts a player in abject poverty, especially a young import who has to find living quarters for that kind of money is obscene.

...I'm not ashamed to say I've never heard of Fedor Tyutin

And the misinformation continues.................. :roll:

NBA & NHL play 82 regular season games, MLB plays 162 regular season games, and lastly the NFL media deals are worth just under $7 Billion dollars. $3+ Billion is what NBC ($950 million - $1.05 Billion for Sunday Night package), Fox ($1.1 - $1.15 Billion for NFC package) and CBS ($1 - $1.08 Billion) are paying collectively, Espn's annual rate is $1.9 Billion, DirectTV's deal which ends after this season is $1 Billion. That's not even including the WestWood Radio One and other media deals.

The point all of you are missing is that if the players dont grab this TV money then the owners will just find a different way to spend themselves into the poor house. Most likely they will hire American coaches with no experience and over pay them… The players should go hard ball and demand a coaches salary cap before they even put their bellies up to the negotiating table… Secure their piece of the pie before they ask for what size it is… You look at the idiotic hires that the Eskimos have made lately where they hire young black coaches and general managers who are completely clueless… Why they feel compeled to be PC and hire people based solely on their skin colour is really perplexing. Then you got the Bombers paying atleast 2 head coaches every season since 2007… Then you got the Argos and Als paying coaches for 3 years for coaching half seasons… This is the real issue why CFL teams are not as profitable as they should be… Also the amount they are paying these coaches is a joke… Why not hire Canadian coaches who don’t even bother dreaming of coaching in the CFL because they know that Trey Junkin will be hired over them or Ryan Dinwittie… This sounds like a joke, but it isn’t… Brian Towress cant get an interview, but Kavis Reed who was an average defensive back is handed the key to the porshe… The CFL needs to wake up.

WTF is that !? You should be sent on a one month forum vacation.

Why should he be banned? If he had said, 'calgary only hires white people as coaches', would that be worthy of a ban for acknowledging huff and his crew are white?
Simply acknowledging that someone is black, when they are, in fact, black, shouldn't constitute a ban.
Why are people so over sensitive looking for racism when there isn't any?

Acknowledging their black isn't the problem.

Negatively associating with incompetence, and then following it up with.

is not only pretty racist. It's also implying that the Eskimos organization is not only racist and only hires based on color of skin, but is pretty disrespectful of that organization as it implies that merit has nothing to do with their hiring practices.

Fear free speech ?

No not at all. Just can’t stand hate speech.

I've read this post over and over and keep coming back to my original opinion. I never took this as a racist. The results of the Esks hiring have shown the truth. I didn't take it to mean that black coaches are inept..... I also can't believe I'm defending Bungle.

Why point out at all that they were black unless something was meant by it?

I can understand youth being associated with inexperience, but why mention race at all when referencing idiotic hires? We weren't told the race of the Bombers coaches that are being paid unnecessarily.

CRFadmin, I understand what you're saying. I just never took it to be racist. If the Esks are doing what Bungle says, which I don't believe they are, then race comes into it. If they were hiring inept white coaches, I'd be OK with saying that too. Bungle believes they are hiring with a PC agenda in mind. If they are, then who is the racist ?...Maybe the Bombers are following suit by hiring inept old white coaches. :lol:

Withdrawn. :wink: Reading a little closer further, he feels that the Eskimos hired based on race, so that's why he mentions it. Fair enough. i have no idea why he feels that way, but I don't follow Edmonton closely, so there may be a good reason that I'm just not aware of.

Can anyone honestly say they didn't have suspicions when Hervey took over and immediately extended Reed?
Reed hadn't done anything to warrant the extention.
Why not let Reed play out the last year of his contract THEN decide whether he earned an extention? Had Hervey done that, he'd have saved the Esks a lot of money when he fired Reed after the 2013 season.
The only reason I can think of for the unwarranted extention, is, Hervey saw a fellow black man.
Sad but true. Nothing racist about acknowledging that is a possibility/ probability.

This wouldn't be the first time this sort of thing has happened in the CFL; remember the reports about Shivers hiring Barrett, then as many black players as possible and using that to fire up his players with a 'us against them' mentality, which Tillman had to correct when he took over in Saskatchewan?

Couldn't this same situation have happened with a white GM and white coach ? Wait.. it's happened many many times. Were they all white guys taking care of their bros ? Maybe it's happened with a black GM and white coach.What do we call that?.....Come on, it's possible, but it's also paranoid.

i don't lose any sleep over it.
this sort of stuff hapens in society all the time;
-muslim man insisting his daughter marries muslim. if a white man insisted his daughter marries white, that'd be 'racist'.
-italian shop owner hires the only italian applicant
-indian casino hiring indians over better qualified white applicants ( in this case, even acknowledges indian applicants get preferential treatment ).

it seems there is a lot of racisim, but only whites get called racist :roll:

i'm not losing any sleep over this sort of stuff. i just laugh at the double standard.