Saskatchewan Roughrider placekicker Brett Lauther is still fuming over the CFL’s Global player initiative.
He raged about it before the season and then again recently at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium: “There’s a number of problems — I don’t even really want to get deep into it.”
And then he proceeded to dive right in.
“I’m not trying to say that other guys don’t deserve it. A prime example is when Josh Bartel [Australian-born ex-Rider punter] came in. He didn’t get any free spot on the team, he wasn’t in some draft, he was just good enough to play,” Lauther said.
“I just empathize a little bit for guys sitting at home — that was me. [Two other kickers Lauther has been training with have] moved on into other jobs and didn’t get roster spots.”
The Riders kicker, who is a perfect 9-for-9 on field goal tries this season, even mocked the CFL’s motives behind the Global initiative, believed by many to be TV contracts in these other countries who have wildly different time zones than in North America.
“My family and people out east in Nova Scotia can’t even stay up at like 11 p.m. [AST] for one of our games when we start at eight o’clock,” Lauther said.
“So, I don’t know what it is with the scheduling or what the deal is, but I think the Canadian Football League in Canada out east has better time zones for those people to have their TV’s on to tune in and watch these games.”
The 30-year-old from Truro, Nova Scotia who bounced around the league for five years before finding a home in Regina, sounds like someone convinced this CFL international idea has made kickers of his kind an endangered species.
“I mean you look at the first year, they went out and tried to find the best of the best across the world in different countries to come in and play — not one of our players is back here from the first year,” Lauther said.
“I don’t really know what we’re doing. The coaches and GM’s, I don’t want to say they made a mockery of it either, but if you’re having a draft and the first 10 picks, five of them are kickers and the first overall pick is a kicker in a football league, that proves a point right there.”
Lauther loves his teammates, including South African born kicker Henry Nell, and the team he gets to play on with this year’s edition of the Riders but finds it virtually impossible to envision ever making the CFL to begin with under the current rules.
“When you look at the past traditions of the Canadians that have kicked in this league and have been really good, now there might be guys that aren’t getting a shot,” Lauther said.
“If this was a few years ago with me, I wouldn’t have gotten a shot and I’m working a job and never heard from. It does suck, if you’re good enough to play, you’re good enough to play.”