Former Riders LB Cameron Ontko says CFL money is “trash”

Former Riders linebacker Cameron Ontko took a shot at the CFL on Tuesday, while also bragging about how much money he’s making selling insurance.

Ontko’s Tweet is framed around why he isn’t missing training camp.

https://twitter.com/CamOntkoLB/status/998433361055174657

Ontko announced his retirement from football in March, citing concerns over his physical and mental health.

The 26-year-old played in 29 games over three seasons with B.C., Calgary and Saskatchewan. The native of Cleveland, Ohio suited up for ten games for the Riders last season, making 10 special teams tackles. He was released last December.

According to LinkedIn, Ontko is the director of quality assurance for the Surace Smith Group in the Cleveland/Akron area which describes itself as an “entrepreneurial organization specializing in leadership development that utilizes financial and insurance products to protect the assets of middle-class America.”

Ontko’s Tweet elicited a strong response from Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Frank Beltre, a former teammate in Calgary.

It’s nice that Ontko is doing well in his post-football life. But he may want to take down his pinned Tweet with highlights from the 2016 CFL season that mentions how much he’s looking forward to playing again…

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76 Comments on Former Riders LB Cameron Ontko says CFL money is “trash”

  1. Mr Red. // May 23, 2018 at 11:58 am //

    Sounds bitter, and he made $3320.00 one day but nothing else that month

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  2. bigboypants // May 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm //

    Jones has a knack for picking character guys.

    • Yawn

    • Huff's Neighbor // May 23, 2018 at 12:22 pm //

      Thus he is gone. Next.

    • Ridersrule // May 23, 2018 at 12:42 pm //

      Does that include the other teams he played for diaperpants?

    • Read the article. Not just titles. // May 23, 2018 at 12:51 pm //

      Littleboypants
      Do you ever read these articles. It’s obvious that you don’t. This player played for Calgary, BC. He suited up for more games with BC and Calgary than he did in SK.
      So is does that make Huff and Buono picking poor character guys. I don’t think so. People who only read article headlines then comment have a name. I don’t know how to say it in English so here it is In Swahilli; kichwa cha kutomba. In the villages they laugh at you.

    • He also played for Calgary

    • Evergreen // May 27, 2018 at 1:37 am //

      Why don’t you include B.C. and Calgary in your sarcastic comment?

  3. All of us have stuck our foot in our mouths occasionally, thankfully social media allows us to do it for the world instead of just a select few.

  4. Shouldn’t have probably said it. CFL needs to be fiscally responsible but paying players more is important especially minimum salaries.
    CFL is a great league but money does talk and it is everyone’s best interest to get them paid reasonably. Ideally minimum salary should be in tbe $100k terrirory recognizing the average career length and health risks but of course, teams need to be able to afford it too. Not there yet but need to move thete soon.

  5. “Trash” is also a good way to describe Ontko’s game.

    Hopefully he’s better at shilling insurance than he was at playing football.

  6. canadianfootballfan // May 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm //

    A shitty player makes a dumb tweet, and this is news? You guys are truly becoming shameless hacks.

    Does 3downnation have no self respect at all?

  7. Si1ver Fox // May 23, 2018 at 12:13 pm //

    His opinion of the league holds as much weight as his highlight reel!!!

  8. Mr Red. // May 23, 2018 at 12:18 pm //

    When is this guy going in the Plaza of honor?

    • Troll

    • Huff's Neighbor // May 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm //

      About the same time you leave mom’s lap and the basement.

    • They haven’t announced that in Calgary, yet.

    • Ridersrule // May 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm //

      Mr lahey he also played for the stamps is he going into their hall of fame . How do you eat with your foot always in your mouth.

    • The Hippo Stump fan calling the Alligator Fat // May 23, 2018 at 1:28 pm //

      He gets his spot in SK the 3rd team he played for. Right after he gets his Stampeders famous spot on their gentleman’s wall (with only 1 signature; Doug Flutie; saying good luck but this organization ripped me off $1,000,000.00) now there is 2 signatures. The second for being the most open and honest and cordial Stampeder to ever put on the red and white. He speaks his mind to social media. Instead of attacking a fellow player after losing the last Grey Cup. Plus he didn’t have to resist arrest and have his face turned into concrete Hamberger helper with a little spice Pinch to make it more Finch like.

    • Lancaster/Reed // May 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm //

      His qualifications are more on stampeder level for honours. Will you take him out for a burger after his induction? We know you are looking for friends. Any friends.

  9. Feeling Blue // May 23, 2018 at 12:21 pm //

    We all have a choice…he knew what he signed up for

  10. Hey, Red, you’re not related to this person by any chance, are you?

  11. Just wow. Why not say former CFL player? But 3D has to piggy back off the Riders to get clicks. What a trash website. All the hatred between us all we can surely agree this website is garbage. Anyone want to start a new CFL site with me? Seriously. We as fans of any team deserve better. Let me know and we can start emailing.

    • Cat Fan // May 23, 2018 at 3:16 pm //

      A bit sensitive?

      I can recall something like four decades where the former player’s team is prominent.

      Now I can understand complaining about a lot of the comments but don’t follow why the CFL team has to be hidden or is a concern.

      Looking forward to your new CFL web site.

      • True green // May 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm //

        I think the point is that 3DN often refers to some one as an ex Rider when he may have spent more time with another club. I’m not being arrogant here, the word “”Rider” attracts more clicks. You’ll get 100 comments on a random “Riders Duron Carter bought a new shirt today” article. This guy played one season with the Riders.

        • Cat Fan // May 24, 2018 at 4:21 pm //

          Can you point me at some examples?

          AFAICT – Ontko’s last club was the Riders … which matches up to most articles I can recall. He’s played for three different teams over three years with BC having a five game edge over the Riders.

          • True Green // May 25, 2018 at 1:32 am //

            I haven’t memorized them but I’ve noticed the trend in other articles. I’m a proud fan but i am not obsessed with Riders being Canada’s team or anything like that. This site posts more articles on Hamilton (obvious reasons) and Sask. With Sask it’s because it seems to get the controversial bs back and forth comments often exceeding 100. Watch for yourself, you’ll notice it.

            In the case of this article a relative nobody that retired a year ago generates 70 comments. He played more of his career with B.C. With Sask he only played special teams I believe. Had 3DN headline the article as a BC retiree I fully suspect the article would have gained little traction.

  12. He sounds like a jerk but he is not wrong.

  13. they named you a “director” at that company hahaha. Yeah okay, I guess they throw that title around easily at your sh*tty little firm. Couldn’t catch on with the big boys eh Ontko.

  14. The guy obviously didn’t enjoy the game. Nice to see a spot freed up for someone who actually values the privilege of playing professional football for a living!

  15. Jade Duckett // May 23, 2018 at 1:44 pm //

    I thought he was a man of good character, this may prove me wrong, but the reality is, he wasn’t that good on the field and thus is gone.

  16. Scottsask // May 23, 2018 at 2:05 pm //

    …..and he had God on his side. Thanks for the memories Cam.

  17. MR. Green // May 23, 2018 at 2:06 pm //

    Thank goodness his mom bought insurance. Congratulations on your first sale Ontko. Maybe he can stick with an organization for more than a year now.

  18. Sixbeamers // May 23, 2018 at 2:29 pm //

    What Frank Beltre says is true — many CFL players earn more in 5-6 months than most Americans do in a year — but Cameron Ontko does have a valid point, even if “trash” is an indelicate way of saying the majority of CFL players are underpaid. They are. Most people know that. The job of holding down a CFL roster spot is at least an 11-month commitment to playing and training. And the sports world has changed significantly since the days when commissioner Randy Ambrosie played. So, when he offers up a solution to CFL players looking for more money — find an off-season job — he’s being disingenuous or in a state of denial.
    Raising the league’s minimum salary will be a key issue when the current CBA expires a year from now. The players have a lot of catching up to do, The current CFL minimum of 53K converts to about $41,500 in US funds. It’s not “trash.” But iit does represent a subsistence wage for a professional athlete. I think most CFL fans can agree on that.

    • Cat Fan // May 23, 2018 at 3:33 pm //

      Hmmm … if the CFL’s minimum of $41.5K USD is subsistence, what describes the thirty year old Arena Football League?

      For 2017, it seems to be $870 a game for rookies with active vets getting $925 a game. With a thirteen game regular season, that’s a bit over $12K plus possibly several relatively small bonuses.

      At the end of the day – the question is where $$ for increased salaries come from.

  19. Sixbeamers // May 23, 2018 at 2:29 pm //

    What Frank Beltre says is true — many CFL players earn more in 5-6 months than most Americans do in a year — but Cameron Ontko does have a valid point, even if “trash” is an indelicate way of saying the majority of CFL players are underpaid. They are. Most people know that. The job of holding down a CFL roster spot is at least an 11-month commitment to playing and training. And the sports world has changed significantly since the days when commissioner Randy Ambrosie played. So, when he offers up a solution to CFL players looking for more money — find an off-season job — he’s being disingenuous or in a state of denial.
    Raising the league’s minimum salary will be a key issue when the current CBA expires a year from now. The players have a lot of catching up to do,

  20. Scottsask // May 23, 2018 at 2:56 pm //

    Sure it’s true, but this guy volunteered to sign up to play professional football for 5 years, if it was so terrible why didn’t he quit after his first year? At least he’s not bitter LOL! I wish the salaries would go up for these players as much as I wish my salary would go up as well. Hopefully the league continues to grow and thrive and that will happen. The next CBA should address the lowest paid players in the league, but that’s up to the players.

  21. Scottsask // May 23, 2018 at 3:22 pm //

    A minimum salary of $60,000 would be a nice place to start without throwing the league into complete turmoil. But with a gate driven league it could be problematic until all franchises pull in a minimum of 20,000-22,000 fans per game, and that’s a bare minimum. BC, Toronto and Montreal have work to do.

    • Minimum salary in the CFL is $54k – – not sure how increasing it to $60k really changes anything.

  22. This guy wasn’t good enough, but others are.
    The salary discrepancy btw CFL and NFL has grown, and the CFL needs to address.
    We should be aiming for a $10m cap in the next few years. Maybe help pay for it with a better ESPN contract (sell them Manziel games at a premium). I could even accept moving the GC forward 2-3 weeks if it really helped the $. Yes, we would have to start June 1 (or June 7 if we get Halifax and eliminate one bye week). It’s not like Canadian hockey teams are still playing in June anyway.

    • Cat Fan // May 23, 2018 at 3:55 pm //

      I am interested in what creative solutions you see for the CFL to close the gap with the NFL.

      The smallest NFL stadium is StubHub Centre wiht 27K capacity … which is likely a temporary deal due to the Chargers move back to LA.

      The next smallest is the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum with over 53K seating capacity. Then Soldier Field with over 61K. The top end seems to be AT&T Stadium at over 80K.

      (Interestingly, the top US College Stadium, Michigan Stadium seats over 107K, with the first NFL sitting at number sixteen.)

      I am not sure what suites go for but I doubt it is like the AT&T ones being offered between $19K to $34K that the first home game lists as available.

  23. Line forms on the left for ex CFLers who will sell insurance Line up on the right for those who fantasize about becoming financial advisers

  24. Steve J. // May 23, 2018 at 4:59 pm //

    I always remember the solioquy in Field of Dreams when Joe Jackson, describing how much he loved the game, says, “I’d have played for nothing”. For a lot of these guy coming to the CFL is not just about the money, it’s about the dream. I signed a prospect sheet with the Cats back in the day, and would have given my left one for a chance to play in the CFL, but it wasn’t going to happen.

    Beltre is right. Don’t disrespect the game because you couldn’t cut it. If you want to be rich, stay in school, get a professional degree and excel in your chosen field. Success in Pro sports is mostly about genetics, hard work and being in the right place at the right time. If Ontko wants to sell insurance, then up yours, Gomer, and get to it. If he really gave a damn about the money he wouldn’t have stuck it out for three years. Don’t bash the guys who were able to take it to next level just because you couldn’t.

  25. Mr Curling // May 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm //

    It costs Mr Curling $500 per game to take his wife and two kids to each game at the new stadium. The fact is the CFL is already getting out of reach for the average Joe and don’t see owners getting rich up here so don’t know where the money is gonna come from.

  26. Mr Red. // May 23, 2018 at 8:00 pm //

    A rider!!!!!! that’s no surprise

  27. Hahaha!! Waa waa waa..
    Suck it up! Dont like the pay, go try your hand in the NFL!!!!

    Again.. as a special teamer..
    Chump

  28. True green // May 23, 2018 at 11:10 pm //

    My experience is if someone needs to brag about how much they’re making, then they’re really self conscious about their income. Good on him if he closed his first big deal. If he can make $5k a week that’s a great living for a 25 year old. But his post is rubbing it in the face of the clubs he played for, the 100s of guys he played with and the 1000s of fans who paid to watch.

    In my opinion Cam just put the ass in class.

  29. So moving on from this no-talent scrub and onto something more worthy of discussion – – the salary gap between the NFL and CFL.

    Comparing stadium capacity is totally irrelevant – – Commonwealth will hold 60k and BC Place 55k – – because the NFL is rich thanks to the television deal.

    The revenue from televising CFL games on ESPN is going directly into the owners pockets. Thanks to the CFLPA baglicks who didn’t bother to go after it during the last CBA. How ironic that a couple weeks after the deal was ratified, the CFL announced a deal to televise games in America. This new revenue was NOT included in bargaining discussions.

    The only way CFL salaries are going to increase is if the contracts are made public. It’s exactly like the NHL was in the 1980s – – guys playing for peanuts thanks to a corrupt NHLPA. Once the deadwood – – ie Al Eagleson – – was eliminated from the union and contracts were made public, there was exponential growth in player salaries.

  30. The minimum salary in the CFL is $55K? The average teacher with at least 6 years university starts about there – maybe a bit higher, depending. The average engineer, about $70,000. Same with the average CA accountant. It’s not that bad. Just plan for after…

  31. Nice try. People who make real money don’t need to talk about it.

  32. He’s right. The CFL is a trash league. It doesn’t even qualify as a farm league for the NFL. If anyone ever plays in the big league coming from this one, is as much a fluke as it is skill. I haven’t heard of anyone making the jump in years. Mind you, I’ve stopped watching the CFL a long time ago. It’s a nine team league. That’s nothing. The quality of play is inferior to the NFL and no wonder. Who in their right mind would want to play football for $50K, in a foreign country, with strange rules that make the game weird and unwatchable for the masses (proven)? Who would? I’ll tell you who would…..it’s like the Chinese say about American expats who settle in China. LBH (loser back home). That’s who.

    • True Green // May 25, 2018 at 1:41 am //

      Mike, if you don’t like the game that we all love then stick to your sport of choice. I for one can’t stand nfl but you won’t catch me disrecting it. Here’s a great idea: don’t read cfl news and don’t comment on cfl news. That way you’ll have nothing to do with the sport you hate. I know. That was a hard solution to come up with. But I don’t mind helping out my simple minded friends.

  33. True Blue // May 24, 2018 at 7:44 am //

    Hey Mike, you claim to hate the CFL yet you’re commenting on a CFL news/fan website at 6:03 am… if you hate this game and this league so much why are you wasting your time searching out CFL stories on a site you hate? Then you have the nerve to point fingers at people following their dream and call THEM losers?! Not sure where that leaves you.

  34. Tiger man // May 24, 2018 at 8:11 am //

    It’s simple economics. Canada does not have the population size to support the same wages as this whiner wants. It’s reflected in the stadium and TV attendance.

    Too bad this quitter doesn’t have the common sense to understand that.

    Ontko, if you were all that, why did you not make it in the NFL??

  35. Keep in mind that’s $54k for SIX (6) months of work – – with a FOUR (4) hour work day.

    The other half of the year you can go and work somewhere else to supplement the salary – – even a minimum wage job at Tim Hortons will pay $14/hr so that’s nearly $15k in off season money to add on.

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