After our boy Justin Dunk dropped his bombshell that both the CFL and the union were considering a change that would see the number of Canadian starters drop from seven to five, there was plenty of reaction on social media – particularly from players.
Their responses clearly illustrate the divide between nationals – Canadian players whose spots are guaranteed by the CBA – and internationals, who make up the majority of the league’s stars. American players can be resentful because they believe Canadians – who they often see as inferior talents – are compensated based on their passports instead of their playing ability in some (many?) cases.
Let’s start with Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris, whose tweet probably deserves its own post. Hey American CFL players, he seems to be saying, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you go play elsewhere? He even includes a middle finger for good measure.
You have the AAF and XFL, neither have a ratio and both also pay in USD. Why don’t you just play there? 🤮💀🖕🏽
— Andrew Harris (@andrewharris33) March 17, 2019
Tweeting at 1:13 a.m. ET is generally… not a great idea. But it certainly got the attention of Brandon Banks, who went on an epic Twitter rant Sunday morning. He argued with fans, threw former teammates under the bus while arguing that Courtney Stephen was overpaid and basically said linemen have it easy.
All the athletes on field put in hard work but it’s definitely levels to it ! They wake up and learn a blocking scheme that’s it ! Ask what a qb has to learn and do day in and day out ?! Idc what our lineman think they kno Im a team player and will do anything for them ! https://t.co/QZ5sFKRNXj
— brandon banks (@speedybanks87) March 17, 2019
Calgary offensive lineman and 3Down podcaster Derek Dennis, stirred the pot a little….
That ratio touchy subject huh? 😂🤣😂 pic.twitter.com/OsAlUuOO2s
— Derek Dennis (@6BONECRUSHER3) March 17, 2019
And that got Toronto defensive end Shawn Lemon and Saskatchewan offensive lineman Josiah St. John into it, with St. John finally saying the thing that validates every American players’ argument on the subject.
Don’t be mad god blessed me with a Canadian passport 😂🤷🏾♂️
— BIGRiderJo™ (@BigStJo) March 17, 2019
There were some thoughtful tweets, however, including this one from veteran Canadian Calvin McCarty…
Timely tweet Dunk, Obviously a tactic to divide the players. But since we are on the subject. Ratio stays for reasons I’ve explained in the past. But I’d like to see the ratio be included in management and coaching staffs. To grow the game on all levels within the country. ☠️🏈
— Calvin McCarty (@calvinmccarty31) March 17, 2019
And this one from Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock…
And this one from Calgary punter Rob Maver….
I strongly believe lowering the ratio benefits GMs only. The win for all players is a roster category that benefits guys who commit up here after x amount of time. Diminishes pay gap, lengthens careers and encourages development = better product and quality of career overall.
— Rob Maver (@rmaver6) March 17, 2019
This tweet from Montreal quarterback Vernon Adams is the rare expression of support for the ratio from an American player… of course, quarterbacks aren’t included in the ratio and are already well-compensated, so…
A position on which he promptly flip-flops…
Now if there is “two global spots” not for Americans then im all for going to 5. I forgot Randy was adding the other countries
— Vernon Adams Jr. (@bigplay_va) March 17, 2019
Former Redblack Diontae Spencer has departed for the NFL so he sees the humour in the clashes between CFL players.
CBA got boys showing they true character 😂😂
— Diontae Spencer (@DSpencer4_) March 17, 2019
How about a former Rider chiming in, making the argument that preserving the ratio gives Canadian players a chance to develop.
Terrible idea. It’s called the CANADIAN football league. Would mean many players like myself wouldn’t have had the chance to show they belong as a starter cause the “ratio” automatically pegs where Canadians can play
— Chris Getzlaf (@ChrisGetzlaf) March 16, 2019
These two from Ted Laurent are interesting because they come from a guy who is an all-star at his position as a Canadian. Ted is from Montreal, went to high school in Georgia, played his college ball at Ole Miss and spends his off-seasons in Florida. In other words, he seen both sides and benefitted from both.
Stop this narrative that Americans are better players then Canadian
— Ted Laurent (@tedlaurent) March 17, 2019
Cfl fans stop telling American players if they dont like it go back to your country cfl need them as much as it need canadians
— Ted Laurent (@tedlaurent) March 17, 2019
All of these tweets illustrate the challenges the CFLPA has always faced: balancing the needs and desires of two separate nationalities with conflicting interests at the bargaining table and keeping their membership from allowing those divisions to be revealed publicly during negotiations.
First things first.
Know your weakness.
Read One thing and everyone shows their hand. 🤦🏾♂️
— ShamawdChambers (@ShamawdChambers) March 17, 2019
For comparison sake, let’s look at CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s most recent tweet…
— Randy Ambrosie (@RandyAmbrosie) March 14, 2019
How about Ticats’ CEO Scott Mitchell, who sits on the league’s bargaining committee?
This is an outstanding summary of what the opening @CPLsoccer match is all about on April 27th at @TimHortonsField between @ForgeFCHamilton and @York9FC. Please read and share! https://t.co/LPqa4qCn0B
— Scott Mitchell (@ticatmitchell) March 8, 2019
Maybe Bombers’ president Wade Miller has said something inflammatory from his (possibly fake) account? Nope.
— Wade Miller (@ceowademiller) September 1, 2013
The CFL will be perfectly happy to let the players’ divisions play out in public while staying silent on the status of negotiations – you’ll notice they didn’t issue a statement on Dunk’s report like the CFLPA did.
Sure, the players make for interesting follows on Twitter. But as a negotiating strategy, it leaves plenty to be desired.