“This podcast is to give some insight of how we as athletes like to talk, how we as athletes like to think, how we really feel straight from the horse’s mouth,”
– Derek Dennis on the opening episode of the Insights from the Locker Room podcast.
As strange as this may sound coming from someone who has covered the CFL for a decade, one of the toughest things to convey is what a player really thinks about anything.
The players themselves are part of the issue, trained as they are to read from the Athlete’s Quotebook of Canned Cliches. But journalists ask the questions, choose the quotes and pick the focus of any given story – often the juiciest and most controversial hot take. Meanwhile, teams restrict access to limit the kind of conversation that might produce anything of substance. Even social media can be tough, limited as it is by character counts and Instagram video lengths.
All of which makes the Insights from the Locker Room so interesting.
Dennis is a veteran CFL offensive lineman with an active social media presence: he has opinions and, somewhat unusually, isn’t afraid to share them. Tyler Johnstone, another big boy upfront, just finished his rookie season with the Alouettes. One is white, the other black. In many respects, they couldn’t be more different. They are clearly close friends.
It makes for interesting listening. In the first episode, they discuss their personal football journeys, locker room dynamics, the CBA negotiations, player safety, injuries, money and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s funny, at times profane, and startlingly honest.
At 3Down, we’ve try hard to offer a different perspective than usual, prepackaged fare you can get elsewhere (though we certainly have our fair share of that, too.) Providing a platform for different voices to be heard can be a challenge, though it pales in comparison to actually having the courage to speak the truth. Dennis and Johnstone say they are going to do just that.
I’ll be listening.