Football Hall of Shame

EARL MCRAE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:29 AM ET

"Each year a selection committee of learned football individuals across the country elect up to five individuals for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame."

CFHF WEBSITE

Learned? LEARNED? Hah, hah, hah, OH, hah, hah, hah.

Learned all right. Learned as in thick as a brick.

The 2008 Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction takes place this weekend in Hamilton and Ken Lehmann won't be there. Again. As I walk away from Ken Lehmann after our conversation in the parking lot of the Sun where he's an advertising salesman, I'm thinking to myself that he should've listened to his mother when he was a kid and stuck to the saxophone.

With his ingrained perfectionism, drive and determination to be the best he could be, he'd have stood a better chance of getting into a musical hall of fame than the Canadian Football Hall of Fame with its disgustingly unlearned "learned."

'IT'S RIDICULOUS'

Angelo Mosca, CFL Hall of Famer, a few years back: "It's (censored) ridiculous. How the ignorant morons on the selection committees over the years could justify keeping Kenny from being inducted is criminal. The guy was something else. Not just tough as nails, but one hell of a leader. He was a clean player, but there are old ex-players walking around today with limps and other injuries because they got nailed by Kenny. There are guys in the Hall who didn't come close to having the impact in this league that Kenny had."

Right. One of them an inductee this year, John Bonk, centre, briefly a Hamilton Ticat, mostly a Winnipeg Blue Bomber. The credentials of John Bonk, who retired in 1985, that so impressed the "learned": Four-time league all-star in his 14 seasons, once named the league's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, one Grey Cup win, one Grey Cup loss.

The credentials of Ken Lehmann, linebacker, career Ottawa Rough Rider, who retired in 1971, that so hasn't impressed the "learned" past and recent:

Four-time league all-star in his eight seasons, once named the league's Most Outstanding Defensive Player, once runner-up, two Grey Cup wins, one Grey Cup loss. Ken Lehmann who also, by the way, set a CFL record for most kicks blocked in a game -- two. Ken Lehmann, a soft-spoken gentleman off the field who, on the field, was the hardest, hurtingest, bones-to-dust tackler of his time.

BALLARD'S IN THERE

Here's one the "learned" inducted: Harold Ballard. That's right. Orangehead Ballard, owner of the Toronto Maple Leaves. Inducted by the "learned" because he bought the Ticats and kept them alive. Inducted as a "builder" even though he built nothing. Orangehead who wouldn't have known a forward pass from his big, fat -- uh -- tush.

Mosca: "Aside from that they're (the selection committee) clueless to begin with, Kenny isn't in the Hall where he belongs is that he doesn't play the game. He's always been a humble guy, he doesn't blow his own horn. There are guys in there (the Hall) who had big promotions done on themselves. Kenny doesn't schmooze, he's not gonna kiss anybody's ass to get in."

Why the bejayzus should he have to? His credentials speak for themselves.

Halls of fames such as, say, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame induct the deserving because the learned are truly learned, not as a reward for big, fat, wet kisses on the beckoning rumps of the "learned."

THREW AWAY SAX

Ken Lehmann grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where his mom took over running the bakery when his dad fell seriously ill. I ask him when he started playing football.

"It wasn't until my sophomore year in high school that I began playing seriously. My mother wanted me and my three brothers to be musicians. We were all bought instruments. With me, the sax. When we got into football, we threw our instruments into the corner, that was the end of it."

But it doesn't have to be the end for Ken Lehmann now. He should track down that sax, get back to playing, he could still wind up in a hall of fame other than the one that has shamefully denied him, and never is going to induct him.

Why? Because the "learned" are just fine with the idiotic rule that a player can't be inducted 25 years after his career ended.

Let there be, this weekend, a second induction ceremony in Hamilton. The "learned" into the Canadian Boneheads Hall of Fame.


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