Riders’ QB Mason Fine: ‘I’m very proud to be Cherokee’

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Mason Fine is proud of his Indigenous roots.

“I’m very proud to be Cherokee,” Fine told CTV’s Claire Hanna. “I belong to the Cherokee tribe there in North Eastern Oklahoma.”

The undersized passer was born in the tiny town of Peggs, Okla. before becoming a prolific passer at nearby Locust Grove High School. He was recruited by the University of North Texas and quickly became their starter, finishing his college career in 2019 with 12,237 passing yards, 91 touchdowns, and 32 interceptions.

The 24-year-old is focused on developing into a starting CFL quarterback but plans to return home after his professional football career is over to get involved in local politics.

“I have such a passion to try to get into tribal government and law and give back to my community,” said Fine.

Fine has shared his Indigenous background with his fellow quarterbacks, which starter Cody Fajardo appreciates.

“He’s extremely proud. What’s really cool, I’m not as educated, I wish I was, so there are a lot of questions that I ask him. ‘Hey, what’s going on here? Or can you explain this to me?’ All the quarterbacks ask him that. He’s very proud of it. He’s very knowledgeable of it. He takes it very seriously. It’s cool to have somebody like that in your locker room, in your quarterback unit that you can ask him questions,” said Fajardo.

“You can shine a light on some areas that you don’t fully understand because you’ve never been in that position or it’s never been brought up to you. That’s what’s extremely awesome about him and he wears it on his sleeve. He’s willing to help in any way he can.”

Head coach Craig Dickenson has not discussed Fine’s heritage with the young quarterback, but believes the whole team would be open to learning more about Fine’s background and culture.

“He’s not mentioned it to me, but I think it’s really neat. He’s got a great respect of all his teammates. I think if ever he did want to say something and speak I think his teammates would listen very eagerly and with great attention,” said Dickenson.

“In terms of the Indigenous community and how we want to show respect and honour them, I think it’s really neat that Mason Fine also is involved and is a part of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”

Fine remains on the team’s practice roster behind Fajardo, Isaac Harker, and former first-round NFL draft pick Paxton Lynch. The CFL has traditionally been friendly to undersized quarterbacks, so don’t be surprised if the five-foot-eleven, 190-pound passer makes an impact on the field at some point in his future.