Victor Butler: The Argonauts are holding me hostage

By Victor Butler

Editor’s note: the following is an article written by professional football player Victor Butler. 

The Toronto Argonauts are holding me hostage!!

Just months after helping the team reach a record 17th Grey Cup championship, the team is going back on its word and relentlessly denying me the chance to pursue NFL opportunities, and taking from me my God-given right as a father and husband to provide for my family.

Last February, I signed a one-year deal with the organization that included a team-held option. I made it painfully clear to the team that I was only interested in playing the 2017 season. I saw this as a great opportunity and possible chance to relaunch my NFL career where I had played 65 games over seven seasons. I was told that the Argos have a history of working with guys who have the opportunity to play down south, so if it did not pan out there was always a home for them back in Toronto.

I said: “If that’s the understanding, let’s do it.”

Shortly after joining the team, Jim Popp was hired on as general manager and Marc Trestman as the head coach. I went on to have an All-Star season, and in just one year left my mark on this league. We went on to win the Grey Cup and now there are NFL teams expressing interest in me, although there have been no formal discussions. But due to the veteran minimum (which the CFL does not have) of $900,000 USD compared to the $60,000 CDN I would be paid for next season, it’s no surprise American players want to play for their home country. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to allow me to try. The Argos know this and still they stand in the way of me and financial security for my growing family.

They know what this opportunity means to me, and players like me, yet they refuse to be supportive and stand uncompromising in their approach to dealing with American players, Popp going as far as to tell me: ” I can play for them or retire.”

That sounds like a clear threat, one I refuse to be intimidated by! I have worked way too hard, come too far, and sacrificed far too much to have this chance ripped away from me by an organization trying to oppress and stockpile American talent.

You grow up with a dream, the dream of one day playing on the same fields as the legends did. Then one day you open your eyes and you’re actually there, it’s mind-blowing, and a life-altering experience, one that very few people get to have. The fact of the matter is, very few people who set goals actually get to see them come to fruition, so to have those dreams or goals denied to you is a crime against humanity which is unacceptable.

I came up to the CFL with the misconception that these were second-tier players in a third tier league. I was completely wrong about the PLAYERS! There are a number of guys that could not only start on an NFL team but play at a Pro Bowl level. The football in the CFL is top-notch, but the same cannot be said about the league or its organizations, particularly Toronto.

Winning a professional championship is a tremendous feat especially when you take into account the conditions in which we were forced to endure to achieve it. As a player, I am shocked we didn’t have a losing season, but that speaks more to the character, heart, and resiliency of the players.

Victor Butler celebrates winning the 105th Grey Cup last November. He was named a CFL all-star in his first season as a member of the Toronto Argonauts. Photo courtesy Victor Butler.

My biggest problem is the conditions the players are put in. As a player, having no stability in our routine was very difficult. From playing musical chairs with our practice facilities, taking school buses like some high school class on a field trip to practice, and then getting there and having the fields we practised on feel like concrete.

Even after settling on a facility, it was a run down old school complete with live bats in the restroom and the threat of vandals and arsonist looming around every day. As a professional, I was shocked and appalled when we were forced to beg and plead for breakfast to be provided, and then to have those meals taken out of your already small game check. As an athlete, you have to take care of your body outside of the practice and workouts. I had to find creative ways to care for my body as an elite athlete because we are unable to afford simple maintenance, which is KEY to performing as a professional athlete. There should be a professional standard, and if that was it, then it’s no wonder why we couldn’t fill BMO stadium on a good day.

Off the field things were even tougher, trying to find a safe and secure place for you and your family to live with little to no time or help, proved to be mentally and emotionally challenging. Especially when you’re given a housing budget of $1,000 a month CDN which for those of you who stay in the greater Toronto area know is next to impossible. It is extremely difficult on an entry-level CFL salary to maintain a home not to mention transportation, groceries, renting internationally and taxes in two countries. It adds up quick and the math isn’t very pretty.

All this and you can see why my current situation isn’t ideal and a difficult one to take laying down. After all of that, the Toronto Argonauts have the audacity and nerve to ask me to submissively pass on the opportunity to make a substantial amount money, money that can put food on my children’s plates, braces on their teeth, and equip them with a college education. All things it would take me the equivalent of 23 CFL seasons to even have a hope of achieving.

And while myself and others are denied this opportunity to peruse what’s best for our families future, Marc Trestman’s name is being floated around for an NFL offensive coordinator job. Had he gotten it, he would be allowed to leave in the pursuit of financial stability and a better situation for him and his family. You would have to be a person with an IQ of 5 to not see the hypocrisy in that.

As a professional athlete our careers are limited, as a football player you can cut that in half! At 30-years-old, it’s only a matter of time before I am; too old, too broken, and too tired to do what I do. At that point will Jim Popp or the Argos start a Go Fund Me for my family? Is there a college fund with my children’s names on it somewhere? Hell, will I get health insurance after I am done? The answer is NO!

Victor Butler with his wife and daughter. The couple is expecting their second child. Photo courtesy Victor Butler.

Because to them, I am not a person, my family doesn’t matter and our happiness and well-being are the furthest thing from their mind. I am a pawn in their game, one where I am expected to shut my mouth know my role and be grateful for whatever scraps they throw me.

I refuse to be bullied into submission, I will not dance unless I hear music, nor let someone piss on my head and tell me it’s raining. As the head of my household, I have to be steadfast in the face of intimidation and injustice because I am responsible for more than myself now.

Due to the built-in disparity between what Canadian players are paid vs. American in the CFL, with nationals getting higher pay simply because they were born on the right side of the border and the scarcity of talent already puts us fighting an uphill battle. I don’t agree with this major imbalance but that’s an issue for another time. You can’t pay American players less while working to deny them the chance to make more money when the opportunity presents itself.

I am extremely disappointed and disgusted because this organization and league preach professionalism and family values yet they refuse to practice these things. I loved the teammates I played with this season, truly a special group of men, but it would be an absurd act of cruelty to let this perverted idea of the professional football dream continue to be shown to young players who only want a shot at living their dreams. At the end of the day, we as human beings just want to provide for our families and create a sense of security and happiness for them. I’m a husband and father first and I don’t just answer for myself. To not take advantage of this opportunity is irresponsible to them.

The CFL is in mortal danger of losing talent if it continues to do business this way. I’m training in Texas with guys who are considering a CFL career, and I can’t in good conscience recommend they do so. The league has to change if it is to thrive or keep heading down this dangerous road and remain trapped in obscurity while hockey, baseball, basketball, and even soccer continue eclipsing this great sport in the North. I am vexed that anyone would want to be a part of a league that preys on the dreams of young men, then holding them and their talents hostage until they submit to a position of powerlessness.

– Victor Butler is a professional football player who has seven seasons of NFL experience and won a Grey Cup championship with the Toronto Argonauts in 2017. 

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197 Comments on Victor Butler: The Argonauts are holding me hostage

  1. Wow – well said! and coming on the heals of the Wilder Jr story.
    The CFL will be losing more talent and are going to have trouble attracting new players from south of the border.
    He’s right about Canadian players, they have to pay them higher because there are too few talented Canadians to fill the positions.
    The CFL doesn’t have a good future, especially in Toronto.

    • Tailgate SLT // January 26, 2018 at 12:36 pm //

      I’m with you Jeff.
      The Argos do not need this bad press while they are trying to rebuild a brand.
      This is why Toronto sees the CFL as bush league even though the talent level is close to at par.
      Didn’t Popp mess up Montreal and now he brought his shit attitude to the Argos??
      Maybe Popp needs to go……?

      • How exactly did Popp mess up he Als? Talk about not knowing what you are talking about

        • Tailgate SLT // January 26, 2018 at 2:37 pm //

          Really??

        • Richard, you ask how did Popp mess up the Als? Let us count the ways ir at least two of them with this limited space. Failing to understand he can’t coach. Fires four coaches whom he hired as general manager and then takes over as head coach with pathetic results. Failing to plan for the transition to another quarterback to follow Anthony Cavillo.

          • I see both sides of this and been back and forth on my feelings. If this is a “Family”, you usually want what is best for family. They have signed contracts, which should be honored even though both have proved they deserve a raise. Usually teams are supportive of NFL aspirations and a lot more money and release them on a handshake deal they will come back if it doesn’t work out. I don’t get why Popp would do this now. These men do have kids.
            We all can’t be hypocrites because if we had a job with a small career window and able to make ten times more and our boss said no, we would be pissed, especially raising a young family. If they say sure and shake your hand, say good luck, you appreciate and would offer them first shot if it did not work out. Riders already released Bouka in his first year to sign in Philly. You support the person and their dreams. Life is short. Why be ignorant and controlling? This is a man’s life.

    • It sucks for sure… but where will they get the extra money from to pay them higher base amounts? Raise ticket and concessions? It’s a fine line. I think CFL minimum should be $100k… but reality is, it’s not there yet. TO went through some tough times there with Braley ownership. I don’t see them practicing at a public school again. I remember that was temporary.

      These guys are annoyed that they can’t leave while under contract. This is their gripe. So they’re trying to shame the league into changing the rules.

    • Randy Ambrosie Should comment and step in and make a statement ?!

    • The trouble in TO…. Is the FANS! Wanna be NFL followers. TO will never get a team!! NEVER… freaking cry babies. As for Butler, Wilder… ETC. YOU signed the contract.. Be a man and live up to it!!

  2. Tinhead 296 // January 26, 2018 at 12:32 pm //

    Very well said Victor. The CFL is too one sided that favors coaches and management with perks and guaranteed contracts and treats the players like garbage. I sure hope the commissioner can see what is going on here and he needs to step in and do something.

  3. Shawn Goldwater // January 26, 2018 at 12:33 pm //

    Wow, indeed. Very powerful. This team, this league and the commissioner has to get on top of this.

    • Alberta Clipper // January 26, 2018 at 3:19 pm //

      I believe only the head coaches have guaranteed contracts. All assistants are year to year

  4. Paul Smith // January 26, 2018 at 12:33 pm //

    This guy is too much. Talk about disrespecting your Employer.

    • True green // January 26, 2018 at 1:21 pm //

      The disrespect is only in the hands of the team and the league. This man is trying to do what’s best for himself and his family.

    • Respect is earned

      • So true. I feel it would be very difficult to raise a family on their wage ! No benefits, no coverage after a year if players are injured and need surgeries. Come on, give them what they deserve. This is a tough way to make a living.

  5. I’m sorry…it was a 2 year contract. I always cringe when American players come up here and play really well thier first year. You know they’re gone. Butler is a wonderful player and I hope his dream comes true, but honour your contract and good things will happen.

    • Where I can see his point of view is that he thought he had a handshake agreement with the organization which apparently dissolved when Popp arrived.

      That said…He was in the NFL for what? Five years? Even assuming minimum salary throughout, shouldn’t he be able to afford braces for his kids by now?

      He’s got a drug suspension on his NFL record and was cut in 2015. So again, this dude had ZERO options until the Argos came along and helped him revive his career. Now he’s held “hostage” by then. Sorry, I don’t see it.

      If he regrets his decision, he shouldn’t. The NFL wouldn’t be an option for him now if he hadn’t signed with the Argos anyway. Just like it wasn’t in 2016.

    • True green // January 26, 2018 at 1:22 pm //

      One year can be 10-15% if a career in football. These rules don’t appply to coaches, they shouldn’t apply to players.

      • Thorpe probably disagrees that the rules don’t apply to coaches. Had he been allowed to sign with another team – I doubt he stays in Montreal after his resignation.

        At the end of the day, what management decides determines which contracts they want enforced and which ones they don’t bother with.

      • I’d flip that. I think it should apply to coaches too. A commitment is a commitment.

  6. Well this is what happens when you win a grey cup and get noticed and you get calls from NFL and your still under contract in cfl my opinion is the NFL didn’t want you now because you won grey cup and got noticed they do want you so play out the contract you signed up for and stop crying about being hostage! And that goes for whiner I mean wilder too!

  7. wow….perhaps rightfully so….there goes any chance the Argos had of re-branding and putting anyone in the empty stands….that’s what you call….extremely….bad….PR

    • Holding someone to the contract they signed is bad PR?…in Toronto that is just good business, and the Argos might actually win fans if they stick to their guns.

      • You’re not wrong, but people are only going to hear Butler’s side of the story and can relate to the employee better than they can the employer. Argos may end up looking bad even though they’re technically well within their rights.

  8. Why all this happening to the Argos GC 105 team? This whole salary, bonuses, contract options appear to be crumbing before our eyes. Mr. Commissioner, take note for immediate action. With new CBA negotiations these issues must be resolved. Otherwise, CFL image will go down the drain quickly. Our past success does not guarantee our future success in any manner.

    • GM Popp seems to be going a different route than GM Barker.
      Throw in that being in a GC game likely means more NFL exposure.

  9. The flood gates have been cracked open…

  10. skinpiglet // January 26, 2018 at 12:40 pm //

    That is one great article. Thank you Victor for sharing your experience with us. I hope the Argos reconsider and live up to their verbal commitment to you.

  11. This indeed is well said and it’s important that the CFL address the issues of the SMS and find ways to put more money in players’ pockets.

    The low pay for these guys does make the league seem minor compared to the NHL which is big with younger Canadians (despite 82 games to eliminate just a few teams from long play offs versus 18 CFL league games where they actually count).

    The Lions have generally let these guys go as they know if they fail they’re more likely to come back to them versus getting into a public pissing match with them.

    That is why you see players like Duron Carter speaking up these days.

    The reality is that Canadian salaries are holding up the floor for these Americans and astute players from the USA like Darren Flutie – former player rep – would say that without the ratio of Canadians, salaries at the bottom would be $25K per year (back a while) as there are so many kids chasing the dream and some might play for free!

  12. Brandon Atkinson // January 26, 2018 at 12:45 pm //

    Another player who I have lost respect for.

    Honour your Contract, then go to the NFL and make your millions.

    • Coaches don’t have to , so why do players? Make it the same for both.

    • David Cooper // January 31, 2018 at 2:08 am //

      Too old now for the NFL. He is 30. Way past his prime. No way he would take a job from a guy who is 24 or 25. Dream on if you think he can make millions at age 31. Even if he was given a chance to compete, he would be cut in training camp.

  13. I love how 3DN gives a voice to people you normally wouldn’t hear from in the first person. Gives great insight into what they are really thinking.

    This article is really something!

    • For all the criticism that 3DN gets, this needs to be underscored, you’re totally right.

  14. Paul Smith’s real name is Sreep Hanjoor. He works at a t-shirt factory in Bangalore.

  15. Not saying that Butler and Wilder don’t make valid points….yes it is so what about family etc. So Jimmy P……This is simple….if some players don’t like it here then get rid of em….go (as in no point keeping a guy who doesn’t want to be here)…..REDBLACKS did this with Lemon and Khalil Bass, who both wanted out, even though they are both all star caliber players. Popp needs to clean house and move on.

  16. At 30 does he seriously think the NFL is still interested in him? Give me a break.
    Like the Wilder situation, he should have insisted that his agent put it in writing in his contract that he could leave after the 1st year to pursue the NFL.

    • Butler’s performance certainly appeared to drop after returning from injury. I don’t think there is much interest in the NFL.

  17. Cry me a River, just sit out this season you big baby, as he said he thought this was a 3rd class league with second class players know he understands, that is NOT true, but he doesn’t believe in standing by his commitment, it sounds to me like the NFL sent him packing already so he comes up here to learn how to play again and then wants to run back to the guys who already cut him, play out your contract the NFL will still give you a futures contract with no guarantees either.
    What a LOSER

  18. “We went on to win the Grey Cup and now there are NFL teams expressing interest in me, although there have been no formal discussions.”

    It sounds like there may have been some illegal tampering going on here. Otherwise how would Butler know there are NFL teams expressing interest in him. The CFL should investigate.

    • Ivan Diablo // January 26, 2018 at 2:17 pm //

      “It sounds like there may have been some illegal tampering going on here. Otherwise how would Butler know there are NFL teams expressing interest in him. The CFL should investigate.”
      .
      excellent observation !

  19. Tinhead 296 // January 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm //

    If you read the start of Victor’s article he says he made it very clear he wanted to only play 2017 season with the option to explore NFL opportunities and the Argos said they let players go south before, and if it does not work out, they can come back. It is management that are going back on their promise.

    • No they aren’t, management wasn’t in place when someone told him that. Popp can’t be held responsible for verbal commitments someone else may or may not have made.

      • Sounds like Butler made this agreement with Barker (before he was fired) or possibly Zimmerman who acted as GM until Popp was hired. Barker had a reputation for allowing players to leave for the NFL but Popp obviously doesn’t want to honour a “handshake agreement” that he didn’t make. While JP is certainly within his rights, the optics for the team certainly don’t look good, and other players may well avoid signing with the Argos if they feel that their opportunity to return to the NFL will be limited. The solution of course is to re-introduce the option year for the players, especially those with previous NFL experience who may just need that little opportunity to prove themselves again. Football careers are short – players need to maximize any and every opportunity to earn enough to support their families.

  20. Very well-written article by Mr. Butler with a lot of valid points. It seems like the problem in this circumstance is the existence of the team option for the 2nd year and the verbal commitment that isn’t being honoured by the successor regime (ie Popp). Time for the CFL and CFLPA to eliminate the option year to avoid these circumstances. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t empathize with anyone who didn’t want to honour their contract but if the verbal agreement happened, then I believe Popp should give him his release. What a clusterf**k.

  21. Reality check time.
    To put the drama and theatrics of Mr.Butler’s prose into perspective, he is facing the same problems as every other employee who works for every other company in the developed world. There are workers in North America who are not provided breakfast each day who work under far worse conditions, and for less money, than what Mr.Butler has described. He also has the same choice as every other employee in the developed world: Seek employment elsewhere.
    Mr.Butler was paid $60000.00 CAD for six months work. That’s $10000.00 CAD a month. Why is he claiming he can only pay $1000.00/month for housing? Why does he make no mention of the $20000.00+ bonous he recieved for winning the Grey Cup? I find these claims of poverty shallow and ridiculous.
    This article is an athlete trying to use his status to appeal to the emotions of the crowd to garner sympathy. A manipulative appeal to emotion.

    • There are lots of employees in the developed world who aren’t allowed to seek employment in the same field or for competitors for set periods after quitting.

      Their choice is the same as Butler and Wilder … sit for the prescribed time, do their job or get their employer to make an exception.

      There are far more who are considered easy to replace so they can quit then work for anyone right away.

    • Better yet, why doesn’t he mention the $5,000,000 he made in the NFL?

    • Joe Shlabatka // January 27, 2018 at 10:16 pm //

      +1

  22. Red&White Forever // January 26, 2018 at 1:11 pm //

    Sorry, but it’s a team option for the second year. Same situation as Wilder. They’re both under contract, so buck up and play. Why did he sign a 2 year deal if he only wanted a 1 year deal?

  23. Jeez i am waiting to hear what mr all world d carter has to say on this case lol

  24. JimmyArgos // January 26, 2018 at 1:12 pm //

    Let these guys go give the NFL a shot. Jesus I hate to say this but this is why the cfl is a bush and budget league.

    • Victor Butler has had numerous opportunities in the NFL. He was with Dallas, New Orleans, Arizon, Indy and New York. He was actually fairly decent in Dallas and then signed with the Saints but went downhill after that, ACL injury, I believe and then he bounced around the league.

      Just wasn’t good enough to maintain a spot on a 53 man roster.

  25. Red&White Forever // January 26, 2018 at 1:16 pm //

    I would argue that since it was Wilder and Butler who took their complaints to the media, and are both actually UNDER contract to the Argos, it is Wilder and Butler who are holding the Argos hostage, not the other way around.

  26. And yet CFl fans dump on Arab American (yes a minority) Manziel for making some immature mistakes as a young man, and on his agent for trying to avoid the situation that Victor is in. Then Mr. Manziel tries to show how much new money the Ti-cats can make by selling T-shirts to US consumers and the taunts continue. The CFL will continue to be bush league if it and its fans act like this. Nationals are barely talented and make way more. The Americans are the ones winning the games yet don’t get paid for it. We Canadians are all high and mighty about our morals but we are treating Black Americans such as Victor like slaves. White sub par CIS grads are making way more money only because slots are mandated. This is also opposite the spirit of NAFTA which our PM is going down to Washington to promote. What a bunch of hypocrites we are? Railing against Trump for Tariffs and quotas but having our own Cancon Quotas in the CFL and on CBC Radio play lists. Now you want to pass on minority Arab American Manziel bringing his money train to Canada which he just proved by selling out his jersey stock in 48 hours. That new Manziel money from US consumers will bring the whole league up but you want to force him into a crap contract like you forced Victor into. Shameful Hypocrite Canadian holier than thou people we are? You laugh at Americans how they treat blacks and Arabs but we are doing the same thing and treating First nations people lie crap as well.

    • I don’t see anyone but you bringing Race into any of this. Nationality yes, Race no. Not all American players in the CFL are Black and not all Canadian players are White. And until you pointed out Manziel is Arab, I didn’t know or care what he is and still don’t care.

    • What a completely out of touch comment. Victor makes some strong points, but absolutely not for the reasons you describe. Like another poster pointed out, this has nothing to do with race. And, Johnny Football has proven nothing in the CFL and should absolutely not be paid like a proven high level QB who was arguably the best in the league in 2015 before he got injured.

    • Joe Shlabatka // January 27, 2018 at 10:18 pm //

      “But we are treating Black Americans such as Victor like slaves”.

      Wow. You sir, are a moron.

  27. Interesting yes, but sounds more like he should be pissed with his agent. He put pen to paper, no one made him. He had no chance in the nfl last year, and now that he dose, he bites the hand that feeds him? I mean I get it 60 000 over 900 000 is crazy. But it sounds like he wants his

  28. Rider fan // January 26, 2018 at 1:22 pm //

    Why is everyone saying live up to there contract. The teams are not doing the same. Montreal did not pay DD his 150000. This is one sided for the football league.

    • Smarmy Dog // January 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm //

      ^^ what he said….teams can cut anyone at any time regardless of contract…where is the balance of power?…answer wisely folks

  29. True green // January 26, 2018 at 1:24 pm //

    Excellent article by Victor. This statement says it all:

    You can’t pay American players less while working to deny them the chance to make more money when the opportunity presents itself

    • Joe Shlabatka // January 27, 2018 at 10:20 pm //

      Its called a contract. Don’t like it? Don’t sign it.

      • Ivan Diablo // January 27, 2018 at 10:29 pm //

        agents are whispering into the ears of the players that their value has gone way up and especially those that won a GC and they can sign with an nfl team

        wilder can sit out a year altho’ i bet there are those in the nfl that think that is not the correct way fro him to handle this

  30. Well, Victor, you do have another option & that’s is to go into the real work world & put your USC degree to good use.
    What’s that? You’re saying your degree in basket-weaving doesn’t qualify you for meaningful employment? Oh my….

  31. “He also has the same choice as every other employee in the developed world: Seek employment elsewhere.”

    See, that’s the main problem: he can’t. Sure he can toss fries for a year until his 2 year mandatory contract expires, but he can’t work in his field. If I don’t like my salary, I can shop myself around and, if I find a company that will pay me more to do what I’m trained to do, I can leave and go there. He can’t.

    I understand his frustration of being promised one thing then a new regime moves in and doesn’t honour that. It happened to me when the company I worked for was sold, but I could leave this new company should I have chosen to.

    The CFLPA will need to take notice of his and Wilder’s issues during their negotiations next year. Maybe no more minimum 2 year contracts if a player has professional football experience coming to the CFL. Another thing is teams should be able to retain the rights of players who “try their luck” in the off-season with the NFL. Nothing is more frustrating (as a fan) than to have a player get released to try for the NFL dream then, not making it, come back and sign with another team.

    • What you’re suggesting makes some sense. For players straight out of college with no previous pro experience, it’s a two-year deal, otherwise a one-year deal for those with previous pro experience.
      Maybe it’s also time to re-visit the Canadian content rule & reduce the number of mandated Canadian players on the roster. Every year, teams cut more talented imports in favour of keeping Canadians who are less talented just on account of the ratio.

    • I’ll start by saying I have no desire to begin any type of childish squabbling between you and I, but I respectfully disagree with your first point.

      If he is unable to provide for his family in his chosen field of work, professional football, he does have the option to seek employment in another field. Assuming he has been intelligent enough to plan for his life after football, I would think that career is a viable option and not flipping burgers and fries.

    • What’s the difference between “contacts are holding me back from making more in the NFL” and “having to go back to the same CFL team is making me earn less”?

      How is his limitation any different than a software company employee or engineer who can’t work in their field or for a competitor?

      Or are you suggesting the next step is to get rid of these restrictions for all employees?

      Or how about getting rid of the contracts that give employers ownership of innovations in their spare time?

  32. Very well written, but maybe a bit too much hyperbole? I think despite the “crimes against humanity” Popp is safe from the Nuremberg Trials…

  33. Tom calder // January 26, 2018 at 1:34 pm //

    I’m offended. I believe basket weaving is meaningful work !

  34. Popp is good at trashing teams. He fired 3 receivers in Montreal, too late in the season for them to go anywhere else, in favour of a terrible qb. And in all his years in Montreal, he couldn’t manage to find a replacement for Calvillo… and they still haven’t. If Ray retires, good luck Argos… you’re gonna need it.

  35. Smarmy Dog // January 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm //

    This is about contract structure and the fact that if a player signs one…the team can cut him at any time….so why cant a player walk away from that contract at any time?
    instead people malign players cause they want to make more than $60k CAD…shame on them…..work maybe 5-8 years @ $60k?? who deserves ALL that?
    crawl back under your rocks and let these guys make decisions for themselves…
    cause the guy flippin burgers doesnt have to worry about a broken body or CTE…so just keep hating!

    • Players know that the team can cut them at any time…They know that they are bound by it and they have one weapon to fight it

      Don’t sign and flip burgers for a living

    • I doubt the Argos would keep the contract that low for that long.

      If contract restrictions are bad … are you planning on doing something about the contracts that prevent employees from working in their field or for competitors for years?

      Or maybe the contracts that give employers ownership of the innovations/inventions that an employee comes up with on their spare time?

  36. Montreal is better off now. Popp destroyed the Als now he will destroy the Argos. Kavis although not ideal will not sow this kind of discord in MTL.

  37. Thank you, Victor. Too few fans understand the realities facing players. This is an excellent spotlight on how corrupt and morally bankrupt some of these organizations can be. You should have come to play in BC! Wally always lets our players explore better opportunities down south.

    Best of luck in your protest. I hope they grant your release and you can catch on with a team in the NFL.

    • B.C. signs some star players to 3 year contracts with a NFL tryout window after 2 seasons written into their contracts. I doubt Wilder or Butler would have signed 3 year CFL deals and likely wouldn’t have been allowed to leave after 1 season in B.C. or any other team. Sometimes CFL teams will release players early who are becoming free agents in February, but rarely when they have a year or more left on their contracts. That’s the reality of a legally binding CFL contract which all NFL teams honour.

  38. Ticatsfan // January 26, 2018 at 1:48 pm //

    Sorry but am I supposed to feel sorry for a guy that had a 6 year NFL career, got paid $60,000, plus housing, plus Grey Cup/Playoff bonuses for 6 mths of work? You clearly came to the CFL knowing that there were no NFL options for you, the CFL gave you a chance to continue your pro career and now you are crying about it? and crying about having to pay for your own breakfast? are you kidding me?! Welcome to the real world dude.

  39. Antlerman // January 26, 2018 at 1:50 pm //

    A guy this intelligent should have known that first contract in cfl is 1 yr plus option is standard throughout and if it not on paper its not valid . I feel for the guy wanting to make more money but the Argos have invested time and coaching into him as well so for me a deal a deal and if he doesnt want to honour his deal go to court and settle the dispute

  40. Smarmy Dog // January 26, 2018 at 1:52 pm //

    but its ok for owners to walk away from contracts?

  41. This seems to be more of a Argos problem. All the other teams seemed to let there players try the Nfl if they are given a chance. For Butler to call out the league is garbage. A lot of the teams in the league provide the players with breakfast and lunch and have more than adequate practice facilities. Maybe he and his agent should have done a little more research before he signed. It would be nice if he actually would account for what his full salary was playoff money,bonuses, per diems, etc. Either way release him and let him go.

    • Other teams have had problems along these lines.

      My impression is that the turnaround then winning the GC has meant more attention/interest from the NFL.

    • Great points Chill, I do feel for Butler, however he and his agent obviously should of done more home work on what organization to play for. Unless he was a neg list player and only had the option of signing an initial contract with Toronto (CFL) he shares some of his current sitiuational blame. IF a true FA signing by the Argos he probably wanted to play in a Large Urban center in Canada that he had heard of as an American. IF he was truly only football focused he should of signed with Edmonton/Calgary/Saskatchewan /BC /Winnipeg organizations that have a track record of releasing players to explore NFL opportunities while under contract and have traditionally had hand shake resiging agreements if those NFL opportuniites don’t work out. Once again the ARGO organization sheds a bad light on the entire CFL TIME To CUT ties ONCE and forever with the Argo train wreck !!!! They are not worth the destruction in Reputation of the league they are CAUSING and take TAKE a hike TSN and Drag that LOSER Argo brain trust with YA!!!! Other sport networks will step up and cover the CFL , look at how Sport Net destroyed TSN hockey wise !!!!!! same can happen regarding FB.

  42. With free agency coming up, Wilder speaking about Toronto and sitting out next season and now this from Butler, Toronto should have fun recruiting and/or signing FA’s. Great PR for them when Grey Cup winning players are cautioning others against signing there.

  43. Provemewrong // January 26, 2018 at 2:10 pm //

    So tired of these NFL wanabees. You signed a contract, your agent advised you it was a good deal. If you preform, you will get a shot at the NFL. If you don’t like it now, don’t accept your GC ring and go work at a gas station until 2019. And if you don’t make it to the NFL then, welcome to the XFL… loser.

    • JimmyArgos // January 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm //

      Actually ProvemeWrong, you’re the only loser on this comment section. You constantly spew garbage and have a negativity problem. Keep your comments to yourself. Loser.

      • Agreed. Just trolls all the time. Hard to tell what team he even cheers for, if any, since he never says anything positive about anything.

    • Man , its hard to be respectful to a person of your ilk !!! IKE you would not explore an opportunity to make 150% more then you currently earn doing your PATHETIC job !!! I believe that is the point Butler is making — more complaining about being prevented from earning top dollar , then playing for 60k. Like any rational human he has looked a t his talent — what he is earning and what he could earn /// like all human he compared his ability to his peers and commented on what he felt was unfair wage discrepancy, ALL things the REST of us humans do for time to time , but because he is a ATHLETE and YOU think being a PRO is easy work you disrespect the fellows opinion— sort of what Butler was saying — see me as a slave to my job to entertain YOU and not as a human trying to do what is best for MY family. what a piece of HUMAN scum you are JA .

  44. But a Canadian rookie contracts are the same 1 plus 1 league min. Unless you fighth and hold out for more. but in the same you hold out your not playing . As for bonuses they are bonuses not your agreement of pay . I don’t agree cutting before bonus is do . But it’s not the main contract it is a bonus and if you don’t agree with the contract after you signed your free to sit out the year

  45. I bet both Wilder and Butler have the same agent

  46. RIDERSFSN // January 26, 2018 at 2:27 pm //

    I don’t see why the players should honour there contract. The team doesnt have to honour there side guy has a bad Year cut no problem. So if a guy has a great year why not renegotiate. Or let them try the NFL and get the league to allow you to retain the rights of the player indefinitely outside the 50 player neg list.

  47. JimmyArgos // January 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm //

    The Argos are a joke of an organization. One step forward, three steps back.

  48. Commitment is two years. Signed and sealed by the CFLPA

  49. solara2000 // January 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm //

    Attention Jim Popp:
    Get a stamp that reads “This is a 2, 3 or whatever year contract. This means for that period of time, you can not play for another team unless you have been traded by the Argos to that team. Only the terms in this contract have any effect. There are no verbal agreements or understandings!” before a player signs their name to a contract. I know its in the body of the contract but obviously the player doesn’t read the contract or has it explained to him incorrectly or incompletely.

  50. I don’t get why Popp and the Argos are playing hardball with these players. Popp has always been able to find talent, and he knows how this league works. All teams in the CFL are not the same, the Lions have frequently let players go to NFL tryouts. They have a dedicated practice facility (which is adequate, not great), but I sure hope this message isn’t one that is going to stop players from coming here.

    The option must revert to the player, with the rights being kept by the team if they don’t make it or can’t find work in the NFL by a certain date. I think we are in for a stalemate on the next round of CBA discussions. The teams are making money of the TSN deal before a snap is taken. It’s time the salary cap went up to allow these guys to make a decent wage for trashing their bodies north of the border.

    • Agree with a lot of your points, except that teams need far more money to operate than what they get from TSN which is around $4 million per team. The cost to run a CFL team is estimated to be anywhere from $17 – $24 million.
      Salary cap definitely needs to go up, maybe $500,000, with a corresponding increase in the minimum salary to somewhere between $65,000 – $70,000 per year.

      • Eskfan. that is why the CFL needs stars who can put Canadians in the seats and sell jersyes and TV subs to Americans like…wait for it..Manziel. Did you see his t-shirts fly off the shelves? that could be Esk # 2 Jerseys if he were a free agent as he should be.

    • How long will it take for a player and/or their agent to complain that having to return to the original CFL club is keeping the player from making more money with a different CFL team?

  51. Last comment on this, Victor , your welcome in Riderville ,IMO- tell Poop ( yes I know its Popp but he is POOP in my books) to trade you to the Riderfs for a 4th round pick 2000 and Jones will in all likely hood give ya the latitude to explore NFL deals and welcome ya back if those things don’t work out . For anyone watching/listening now do at get WHY BRidge resigned in Riderville after his NFL shot and NOT waite till FA and gom the MTL or TO. lol Just envisioning FRANKLIN’s head about to explode from stress knowing NOW that he is trapped in TO for the next 2-porbably 3 seasons with a club option —- good bye to his NFL dreams , lol, hello BLM 2.0. but with I hate to admit it a WORSE organization. At least Huffnagel gets the NFL dream thing for his players .

  52. solara2000 // January 26, 2018 at 3:57 pm //

    Let’s get rid of the ratio and let the best players play. We had a taste with the expansion period particularly with the Baltimore Stallions. Damn good football and good Canadian players were more than competitive. The top 50% of the Canadians will continue to make clubs – the proof – just look at the ever-increasing number of Canucks making teams in the U.S. including as starters. The bottom 50% are going be be pushed out. The winners – the fans, the best players drawing competitive salaries and a never-ending supply of talent that can step up each year.

  53. Normally I stop reading when someone tells me something is a “god-given right”. But his article is passionate and important for the league. The solution has to be addressed in collective bargaining (probably a partial return of the ‘NFL window’), but what we really need is a $10m salary cap. The extra $5m needs another 20-30% of revenue for most teams, which means the CFL simply has to be stronger and more relevant to fans; not only on the prairies, but also in the cities. Strangely, I think a corner has been turned, and we are on an up-trend. Go Randy! Pull this off and you are a true success.

    • Are you prepared to pay three times the current ticket price for a $10M salary cap? I certainly can’t afford that…

  54. Flanker41 // January 26, 2018 at 4:10 pm //

    As some wag once said, “A verbal agreement is only worth the paper it’s printed on”.

    A contract is a contract and is enforceable. Don’t like it, don’t sign it.

    The CFL is a barely financially viable league as it stands. The poster on here who was shooting off his mouth about paying the players more is an idiot, unless he can make a business plan up that shows the facts that would permit higher salaries – DOUBTERS!

    It’s the Canadian F.L. I like it BECAUSE it hires CIS players, not despite it!

    As per Wilder and Butler; who wouldn’t try to escape from a contract to possibly make 4 to 6 times the salary in their home country and live with their family? it just ain’t legal, folks.

    My thoughts.

    Go Argos

    • Sure it’s legal. They can just choose not to play for a season. And if it comes to that, the Argos would burn their bridges with them and be the last CFL team they would play for.

  55. Someone above quoted Darren Flutie saying the ratio keeps all salaries higher including Americans because it mandates 7 Cana on the field with a very small talent pool compared to the US. So the Ratio artificially raises salaries for sub par performers. We all accept the ratio because it goes back to the 30’s. We also blame high priced stars such as Darren’s brother and Rocket for the multiple near bankruptcies. But has anybody considered the Ratio is the problem? 1. With no ratio we would get all these talented Americans at cut rate and lower player costs. 2. No fighting over rare talented CIS grads most of whom go to the NFL if they can. 3. All of sudden the talent level rises 4. People especially Millennial know the league is less talented and watch MLS and other leagues. That is why we see half empty stadiums even the West now. 5. With lower non ratio salaries teams are in the Black and start spending money on amenities. 6. Play on field is better and amenities and attendance rises. Also Americans follow their college stars and TV money from US goes up as well as Jersey sales ala Manziel’s little business. Pretty soon owners have money to spend and salaries go up dramatically. The Canadians who blow off CIS and go straight to NCAA start to come back. Pretty soon on its own Canadian participation rises on some clubs to near ratio levels. The stadiums are packed and Americans are sending cash for digital subs, jersys, and trips to Canada in the summer for Footballcations. Seem Crazy? Well this pretty much happened in the NHL. In 1968 2% of Americans were NHL players. Now a steady 25% with 25% Euros and 50% cana with gross slots way higher because we are closing in on 32 teams now. Vegas being the latest success story with Seattle to come soon. In the NHL things are flipped. Americans play the role Canadians do now in the CFL.

  56. Mr. Butler, time to grow up. You are not a hostage. The Toronto Argonauts did not force you to come to Canada and did not force you to sign a contract. Contract law in the United States and in Canada states that when there is a signed written agreement, there are no legal enforceable verbal clauses. You did not do your due diligence, or your agent didn’t. You do not have a God-given right to provide for your family, it is a responsibility, and the Toronto Argonauts are not part of that equation. You are an entertainer, not a firefighter rushing into burning buildings saving babies. Your career as an athlete/entertainer is for a very short period of time of your life. Maybe it is time to move into the real world and start a career that will take you to retirement age so you can fulfill your responsibility to provide for your family like every other responsible father in the real world. You signed a standard CFL contract, the same as other Canadian and American players. Don’t complain about the rules after the game already started. With the salary cap the big dollars are going to American players, not Canadians. Check out what most starting American QBs like Ray and Reilly are making. Half a CFL team are Canadians and half American, there are more American starters than Canadian. Do you think back up Canadians are making more than starting Americans? Regardless, you are a grown man, you signed a contract, be a man and live up to it, or find a real job in the USA to support your growing family. The CFL is not the NFL, there aren’t owners making millions of dollars. The simple economics of the league has created the salary structure. If you don’t like it as a an American or as a Canadian don’t play football in the CFL. If you do play in the CFL, “suck it up Nancy” and use your opportunity as a stepping stone to bigger things within the existing structure and rules.

    • Bingo Smith // January 26, 2018 at 4:21 pm //

      Contract law also states BOTH parties must abide to the terms. The Als just canned a QB with a valid contract. Someone needs to challenge this and take to Ottawa supreme court. I suspect the player would win.

      • Flanker41 // January 26, 2018 at 4:45 pm //

        Dear Bingo, what QB was this?

        If this were true do you not think the CFLPA would be all over it and it would also be a lead story on TSN?

        • There was several stories about it. Durant was cut by the Allouettes 1 day before his $150, 000 bonus was due… and yes he had a contract, but they went ahead and terminated it without consequence as teams appear to be allowed to do.

          • Flanker41 // January 26, 2018 at 6:38 pm //

            Sean that is a very common contract clause that can be included to sweeten an offer. If he was wanted by the team for next year they would have kept him on their roster and paid him the money. The didn’t want him, they dropped him, therefore no money is due him. You may not find this fair but this is a business and players know that. They read, they sign, that’s it.

          • Flanker, you asked what qb the Alouettes dropped who was under contract and I told you: Durant.

          • Flanker41 // January 26, 2018 at 9:21 pm //

            @Sean: Yes, you did. You also seemed to be adding to the previous poster’s position that: “The Als just canned a QB with a valid contract.”
            The implication is that ‘a’ QB was dumped while under contract. If he meant Durant, which he did, that was not correct. Therefore I asked which QB was dumped while in this position because it WASN”T Durant. He wasn’t part of the team at the time the bonus was due him. Sorry for the confusion.

      • No, the player would NOT win in any court at any level. The standard CFL player contract clearly states that the club may terminate the contract at anytime for any reason.
        The majority of NFL contracts are NOT guaranteed unless it specifically says so therein….

    • Flanker41 // January 26, 2018 at 4:48 pm //

      Kudos, Rob’t on writing a great comment that was more cogent than the original article.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I would love to be “held hostage” for $60k.

      Hell, by his own logic I’m already held hostage by my mortgage, car loan, and credit cards, all of which I signed contracts for, and they don’t pay me anything!

      But in all seriousness I can’t imagine how entitled one would have to feel to think they shouldn’t be bound by a contract they agreed to. Especially from a bunch of grown men.

      And using your daughter as a shield? That’s just low.

  57. Do you believe you would of had a chance to play in NFL if you hadn’t
    played in the CFL. if contracts are not to be honoured why have them.
    If I sign up for mortgage at 10% and the percentage goes to 5%, do you
    think they are going to do this for me.
    Wish you well but reality is reality.

  58. Elaine you can empty your house, lock it and walk away. That is pretty much what wilder is doing.

  59. Once I met the devil He was mighty slick
    Tempted me with worldly goods Said I could have my pick
    But when he laid the paper on me And showed me where to sign
    I said “Thank you very kindly
    But I’m in too great a need of mine”
    (With thanks to David Clayton-Thomas and BST)
    The moral of the story is, once you sign a written contract you are bound to it unless the other side is prepared to negotiate – you hold all the cards until you sign, then the balance of power switches. You can complain about the ratio, coaches moving and everything else mentionned but anyone that signs a contract should do their homework – if you don’t like it don’t sign.

  60. Wow, sounds like the start of another #MeToo movement. Lol

  61. We’ve now heard both Wilder and Butler speak out. And speak out they have. It would be great if 3DN interviewed or reached out to someone at the league level or Argos to respond to this. We haven’t heard the other side of the story.

  62. Sounds like Jim Barker knew how to run the Argos much better than Jim Popp. He’s losing his star players quickly

  63. solara2000 // January 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm //

    We leave in a free country with free speech. Mr Butler has exercised his right to free speech now he has the opportunity to exercise his right to withhold his services and sit out the year. Perhaps he and Mr Wilder Jr can form their own little construction company.

    • solara2000 // January 26, 2018 at 5:41 pm //

      OOOOPs – should have read ‘live in a free country’ not ‘leave…’

    • Jimbo Jones // January 26, 2018 at 6:41 pm //

      From what I have seen, construction companies are making more money than an average CFL player will ever make in the CFL in his entire career,

  64. fannotacoach // January 26, 2018 at 5:42 pm //

    There was no surprise clause stating he had to play two years, it was stated upfront. As said before don’t sign if you can’t perform. Regardless if there is a different rule for the team and the player that rule again was not a hidden one. It’s not fair that a team can cut you while you cannot walk away but it’s all in the rules so blame your agent and use the education you got (???) prior to your football career.

  65. Edward Leslie // January 26, 2018 at 5:42 pm //

    What a long winded and over the top article! Want some cheese with that whine, Butler?
    First of all, he uses his family as an excuse to be greedy and excuse his disrespect for the CFL and contract law.
    Secondly, if he already played seven years in the NFL, even if he only made the minimum the whole time, wouldn’t he have already made at least about $4-5 million U.S.? Isn’t that enough to put “food on your family’s plates”?
    The CFL should pay a little less to quarterbacks and increase the minimum wage a little more instead. Since most contracts are only one or two years, the CFL should also honour them as they ask players to do. Other than that, I don’t see any horrible injustice against players or think they are “treated like slaves”.
    Butler has some points, but he overplays his hand with his many hysterical and ludicrous statements, which destroys his credibility IMO.

  66. Great drama queen article by MR. Butler. Honor your contract if you are what you say you are. If you don’t like it in Toronto, you should have signed somewhere where the conditions are better.
    This guy gets to play a game for money. Boo Hoo.
    Go work in a steel mill for that money for one year. I guarantee Mr. Butler would see things different.
    BTW find someone who knows how to run your finances. That many years in the NFL. you should not have money problems. I don’t like GM Poop but he’s right with these guys.

    They are not heroes. They are a bit better than the guy behind them.

  67. Ivan Diablo // January 26, 2018 at 5:48 pm //

    so much for building a dynasty like the esks when they won 5 straight GCs

  68. Jimbo Jones // January 26, 2018 at 6:35 pm //

    Well… If these players aren’t good enough to make the NFL, then what is wrong with giving them a chance to prove it and asking them to comeback to Toronto if they don’t make it.

    Obviously, some people think they will not make it in the NFL and that’s why they are here in the CFL.

    Give them the chance. It could end up in a long term relationship with the CFL team that is lasting.

    One point, when a player signs a contract, it is for the season not including playoff money. So don’t add this money to the players salary for the year, because a lot of players never see the light of a playoff game.

  69. Jim Corrigall // January 26, 2018 at 6:55 pm //

    I agree the team needs to tell it’s side and get a handle on this, quickly. More bad PR is NOT what this franchise needs. Just when it seemed they’d turned the corner!

  70. Maybe Wilder can get him a job as a construction labourer in Texas, then he won’t have to lower himself to toil in the CFL…and that goes for all his workout buddies who have contemplated a CFL career. Remember, the world needs ditch-diggers too!

  71. See ya Victor, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  72. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this all bulids to a player strike before the next CBA is negotiated. If the next CBA doesn’t force teams to honour their sideof contracts the same way players are expected to, don’t be surprised if there’s a strike after this season.

  73. richinbanff (Rich Wilson) // January 26, 2018 at 7:32 pm //

    Mr. Butler is living a pipe dream. With 2000+ new football players graduating from the NCAA every year, why would an NFL team pay twice as much for him? He is a vested veteran (5+ years). His projected salary is twice the salary of the low-round/undrafted rookies he would be competing against. With the NFL salary cap, the teams down south spend most of their money on a few stars, then backfill their rosters with cheap rookie contracts. It’s the reason why the average career length is less than three years. This puts all veteran players who are not stars at a disadvantage. Realistically, his only option is to stay here. The alternative is being a camp body until he is out of work next September.

  74. Really a mess of a situation. Only real solution is a WRITTEN CLAUSE in the contracts of ALL players that they have that WINDOW to check things out down south. Salary variances of Nationals vs NON Nationals is well known and NOT RIGHT. Things have to even out for ALL the players to be paid fairly and equally. Hope the Ambrosie steps in and sets things straight and fair on all contract matters ASAP. Argos and the CFL in general does not need this to fester league wide where it will hurt every team and the CFL in general.

  75. maybe next year // January 26, 2018 at 10:39 pm //

    Or how about this? The American players come together and decide that the CFL needs to have guaranteed player contracts for the length of time as when the contract was signed, otherwise they all just walk and the CFL folds. That’s what would happen. Then you all can drive by your empty, unused stadium and dream of the rich history you once had.

    The CFL knows that this is the only reason American players come to Canada and play for sub standards wages in the first place, a hope that they can prove they can still play. And the league then places a 2 year minimum for the player, yet, they can cut them anytime they like for any reason they like. Or, better yet, demote them to a practice roster where they can get away with paying them $750 instead of the already ridiculously low wage of $2,500 they would normally get as a game check. Being a professional athlete is a year round commitment, not just 6 months.

    You would think that an organization that depends on skilled players from the south would be a little more flexible, some teams are. Its already slave wages that the CFL pays these American players in the first place. I make more money from my retirement than minimum pay CFL players do, that’s pretty sad.

    At a minimum moving forward, it will be interesting to see what American players the Argos will be able to sign as they become aware of the way they treat their players, especially when other CFL teams do work with their players.

    At the end of the day, just who is doing who the favor? Most here like to thing its the CFL doing the Americans a favor, but, without them, there is no league, just a lot of memories.

  76. Geoff Mackey // January 26, 2018 at 11:19 pm //

    Bottom line Hockey is King in Canada. Most CFL teams seem to release NFL dreamers. Why can’t those teams retain the rights for those players if it does not work out for them. If there is not a spot for that player if he wants to return than trade him. If there is not any interest in him than release him. The Free Market System will value his worth. Bottom line CFL gave those players the venue to show their talents. So I understand Managaements position on this.

  77. I believe that if you sign a contract, you should expect to live up to it. A lot of the issues are things that need to be addressed in the next collective bargaining agreement. I think it is crazy that teams are allowed to cut a player a day before a bonus is due and not have to pay it. However, the union and players agreed to that so they need to live up to their agreements no matter how unfair they seem. The time to deal with these iniquities is at the next contract. They need to refuse to sign the next contract without some of these issues dealt with. For now, honour your contract.

    • Agreed that they need to sort this out at the next CBA, which I believe expires following this season. If they don’t fix contracts to the satisfaction of the players and they refuse to sign, don’t think another season would start without an agreement in place.

  78. Edward Leslie // January 27, 2018 at 1:20 am //

    Putting in a clause that players are entitled to opt out of a contract ONCE in their careers to try the NFL seems reasonable. It should also be a consideration to the team doing it that they retain their CFL rights, should they not make it and return north. That sounds like a common sense compromise that Randy Ambrosie would support. But that will have to be worked out in the next CBA in 2019, not now.

  79. I haven’t read the whole article yet or all the comments, but I’ll comment on this a bit at a time as a wade through it.

    Point 1: If there was a handshake deal made with Barker to release Butler after this year then Popp should honour it. He should honour the commitments of this sort made to players under the previous regime.

    • The reason this had to be a handshake agreement, like many others around the league, is that the league inexplicably got rid of the option year NFL tryout clause some years back. This allowed a player to try out for NFL teams before the last yer of his contract, and if an NFL team wanted to sign him he could go to the NFL that year, but if the team cut him he would come back to his former CFL team and finish the last year of his contract. This is a perfect way to deal with this problem. Drew Edwards has this exactly right in his most recent podcast. The one thing that needs to be added to this clause is that the NFL team should be required to pay something like a $25k or perhaps a $50k signing bonus. The NFL min salary is about $450k, and if a team isn’t willing to put up this kind of signing bonus then they’re just not that interested in you. If they’re interested in you then that’s peanuts, but if they’re just looking to sign 10 guys to fill out their training camp rosters then they probably won’t want to pay even that much. Too many players have signed with teams that were never really interested in them, and as a result they’ve lost money and wasted development time. We want to let the guys who have a serious opportunity go, but not the guys who are just being used as training camp fodder. How do you know the difference? $$$ The NFL will put up money for the players they’re really interested in.

  80. Edward Leslie // January 27, 2018 at 4:29 am //

    RFD, the transfer fee sounds like a good idea. The team gets something, and the amount isn’t high enough to discourage teams from giving players a chance.
    I would limit the option to one time only though. Some players would keep bailing out on contracts every other year otherwise. I seem to remember Canadian defensive lineman Adriano Belli tried the NFL about four times with New York, Cleveland, Atlanta and Houston I believe.

  81. canadianfootballfan // January 27, 2018 at 7:30 am //

    If he wants to play football in his home nation… then why leave it? Is he dumb? He seems to want to have his cake and eat it also.

    Too many of them just want to use our beloved league for their own gain, but not the gain of the CFL. Selfish POS!

    • maybe next year // January 27, 2018 at 8:14 am //

      without those American players there would be no league, just keep that in mind. at the beginning of the 2017 NFL season, there were a total of 4 Canadians on active rosters… 4… good luck that dumpster fire if all of the Americans go home…

      • canadianfootballfan // January 27, 2018 at 9:14 am //

        When did I say I didn’t want Americans in the CFL? You’re confused…

        My point is that he specifically stated that he would prefer to play in his home nation, so why did he come here in the first place? Seems like he should have said no to Canada, and been a free agent for any American opportunities.

    • it can be win win. Manziel played 2 years at Texas [email protected] and left them with a 450 m stadium renov Ticatz should bend over fir him he really can pay for that new practice facility in just two yearz. insert money fingers here.

  82. Someone said he made 5 million in the Nfl ?! Is that true , where did that go? He already his the jackpot once

  83. Edward Leslie // January 27, 2018 at 9:14 am //

    I can understand Wilder, but Butler is delusional. He’s going to be 31 by the time the next NFL season begins. He hasn’t played regularly in the NFL since 2012. He suffered a torn ACL, which caused New Orleans to dump him. He got suspended for four games for PEDS. But now the NFL is gung ho to sign him. I seriously doubt it!
    The CFL has been around in one form or another for about a century, but this ingrate comes along and whiness and tries to dictate how the league should be? Jim Popp should release him immediately for conduct unbecoming a CFL player. Hopefully no CFL team signs him after the NFL illusion fades for Butler.

    • He’s going to be 31 and at the age of 30 he was forced to sign a 2 year min contract in the CFL. The union can address all the issues. The neg list allows teams to hold guys rights in perpetuity. A veteran comes in and then must sign a 2 year deal and has only one team to negotiate with. The team just offers him league min. They union could stipulate that you can’t hold a player on your neg list older than 26. That way veteran’s who come up are free agents and can sign with any team and a guy like Butler may have commanded double the league min.

      They need to ditch the 2 year min contract. Just allow guys entering the league to sign one year contracts. The Riders have allowed players out of their contract. Jones has said to players he’s wanted sign with us, we want you for this year and if you get an opportunity, I’ll allow you out of your contract. This sounds like what happened to Butler, except the team went back on their word when a new GM took over.

      This does not make the league look good. Ambrosie is dealing with this mess. If the league just allowed one year contracts for guys new to the league we wouldn’t be reading these articles.

  84. What I haven’t seen mentioned is that a CFL veteran player doesn’t make 60k. Since he hasn’t played in the CFL before, he was offered a rookie contract, which naturally has lower pay. For every player on their rookie contract that plays well enough to start, there’s another 10 who fail to crack the game day roster and are released after a year or put on the PR. Every new signing is a gamble for the team, even ex NFL players since they may never be able to excel at the Canadian game (do I even have to start with examples? There are many).

    So maybe the Argos got a deal with Wilder Jr and Butler. If they want, they can try the NFL after their deal is up, maybe they can impress the NFL even more this season (shows their performance is no fluke). If they fail, they’re a CFL free agent and they will get a better contract to reflect their value. No, it’s not 900k, but there are starters making over 100k which is still a pretty good living to play a game that you love.

    That being said, of course we’d all love for the CFL to be able to pay a little better (minimum of 100k and a cap of 10 mil) but we aren’t there yet without drastically increasing ticket prices, merchandise prices, etc. We’re still in a much better position than we were 5-10 years ago, so maybe in 5-10 more we can reach those goals and pay players more.

  85. Victor Butler? Never heard of him. Any relation to Malcolm?

  86. Edward Leslie // January 27, 2018 at 7:22 pm //

    Philski, he was a backup/ rotational linebacker for Dallas for four years before drifting around to several clubs. He was discarded like an old race horse after tearing his ACL and testing positive for PEDs. He sat out 2016 because no team would even give him a futures contract or a workout. But now after playing just 10 games with the Argos apparently Butler and/or his agent feel that NFL teams are going to line up for his services. This in spite of the fact he’s 30, and they’d have to pay him about double the amount ($900,000) that minimum salary lower draft picks and undrafted rookies would require to be paid.
    In other words, he’s not only an ingrate to Toronto, who gave him a job, he’s also dreaming in technicolor.

    • Summed up perfectly!

    • If he was on an NFL roster for 7 seasons at a conservative salary of, let’s say, $400,00 US, wouldn’t that mean he’d earned roughly $2.8 million prior to coming to the CFL? He’e hardly struggling to make ends meet at the age of 30.

    • LOL! Thank you my EL friend…I was actually doing my sarcastic best there…but appreciate the bio. The fact he was drafted by the Cokeboys explains his big fat inflated head right now. Like they say, everything is big in Texas, including one’s cranium!

  87. Another thought… what does his wife do for a living? This is 2018 and most families are double income households these days. Is she a stay at home mom? If so, maybe it’s time for her to help contribute financially, until he can play in the NFL again (if that ever happens). If he makes 45k USD or whatever it is and she can work and make 45k USD, theyll double their income.

    A family being able to live off one income is a privilege that few can afford anymore, it’s not “a God Given right”. I have a little one on the way and after mat leave ends, I’ll probably have to go back to work at least part time to help provide for our family. That’s the reality of the world we live in.

    • Ivan Diablo // January 28, 2018 at 9:46 am //

      the question is why did he have kids while he was in school makin $0 – how did that help his family ?

  88. We need owners that have the heart as John Candy did. Victor is right about the talent of our players. I always said that these players have a true love for the game. It bothers me that the CFL has been going for so long and the value of the game and players are still not appreciated.

  89. Ron Bates // January 28, 2018 at 4:29 pm //

    Victor hmmm a signed deal without due diligence is one that happens as you explained. Sweet whispered promises by a GM who is gone and at a time leaving little for the regime to do except scramble for training facilities, reflecting the weakness of past regimes! This organization you are playing for does not let people walk! It is not a development team nor rehab for experienced NFLers. Play up for your new deal and then risk all! 2018 belongs to the Argonauts! The worse that can happen is the Barker malaise sets in again! Oh quit dumping Gatorade on the head Coach! Yes big dollars south but the objective here was and is to go big bucks! Think about it!

  90. Albermarle // January 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm //

    The NFL should pay a transfer fee just like premiership soccer to the lower tiered leagues. The highest bidder wins. Problem solved.

  91. The right thing to do would be to let them both go try out their opportunities with the NFL. That way, if they don’t make it, they won’t resent the CFL and there will always be a reserve of players coming up to play.

    If they make them sit it out, it just looks bad on everyone involved.

    The handshake agreements that BC make should be league wide.

  92. The handshake he made in TO was with Barker and he was fire weeks after the fact. New management does’t have to honour anything. Turf the puss.

    • Show me where it says in the contract that it’s null and void if Barker is fired.

      Because I’m willing to bet money the contract wasn’t between him and Barker, but him and the management as a whole, or the team, or the league. What you’re suggesting isn’t usually how contracts work.

      Do you honestly think that if the banker you took out a mortgage with got fired, you no longer have to honor your mortgage?

  93. That banker and myself would had drawn up a legal doc. Welcome to the 2018.

    • Yes, a legal document binding you to your agreement with the bank, not the banker.

      Welcome to basic contract writing.

  94. Stop the whining….. if you were good enough for the NFL you wouldn’t have to come up here in the first place. Pro football is a business and nobody cares about your personal career development. #welcometolife. You really think NFL GM’s would be treating you better? You want to be a pro football player and “live out your dreams”? You’d better wake up and understand what that means. The CFL isn’t going to get used by all these Americans thinking they “deserve” to play in the NFL and can come up for a year and leave. This league is giving you opportunity and you’re wasting it…. congratulations!

  95. Wrong.

    You are being bound to a contract that you and YOUR agent agreed to.

    It is NOT the team and the league’s role to protect your interests.

    That’s why you pay for an agent.

    If you feel like a hostage, that’s the fault of those you paid and trusted.

    Try using this ridiculous excuse on a NFL GM..You won’t get any more empathy….that is after he stops laughing…

    • Contracts are usually binding between you and the company/orginization, not the person you are signing it with.

      As someone who used to sell insurance I can assure you that the contract was not between me and the client, I was just the delivery system for it, and me quitting doesn’t effect any of the contracts signed with me.

      Of course if anyone thinks differently, feel free to show where his contract says otherwise. I’d love to see it, and you’d even be able to rub it in my face how I was wrong.

      …but I’m not going to hold my breath.

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