Strike hurts CFL reporter

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

Longtime football writer Ed Tait is in a very strange position at a critical time on the CFL schedule.

The Winnipeg Free Press reporter has been on strike - with the rest of the union employees at the paper - since Thanksgiving Day.

Today marks Day 11 of a strike that is keeping Tait from his daily duties of reporting on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the stretch run of the regular season.

"It feels awful," said Tait from his home this week.

"You are forever monitoring what the competition (the Winnipeg Sun) is up to - and now (you're) apart from it.

"It's hard."

Tait missed a Blue Bomber game last weekend for the first time since joining the paper in 1999.

Unless the strike suddenly ends, it appears Tait will miss his second straight game (Bombers in Montreal) Sunday.

Several factors apparently sparked the strike, which has forced Free Press management to stop publishing a paper since the day of the Canadian election.

Tait and other striking workers are trying to keep Bomber fans up to date on news by posting stories on the Website freepressonstrike.com.

Free Press managers are trying to keep up by posting stories on the regular paper website (winnipegfreepress.com).

The two sides - the company and striking workers - met Tuesday, but there is no word on when an agreement might be reached.

Benefiting from the strike is the Winnipeg Sun with its continuing football coverage.

If the strike isn't resolved soon, Tait and the rest of the sports department will surely be looking at the calendar and counting the days until the Bombers host the East Division semifinal on Nov. 8.

Quick hits ...

Voting by football reporters to determine the Edmonton Eskimos player awards is set to begin.

Here is how I will fill out my ballot for the Eskimo awards:

Rookie of the Year: Tristan Jackson

A no-brainer with Jackson providing four touchdowns this year, three of them coming on special teams.

Outstanding Player: Ricky Ray

Ray is the Esks' most valuable player and the reason the team has a chance to win every single week.

Outstanding Canadian: Kamau Peterson

From the moment Jason Tucker broke his neck, Peterson has stepped up as a more important leader with the club - on the field and in the locker-room.

Add that factor to his team-leading 1,154 receiving yards.

Outstanding defensive player: Jason Goss

Started the year at safety before proving his versatility by moving elsewhere in the secondary.

He leads the Esks in interceptions (five, two for touchdowns) and fumble recoveries (three).

The veteran has also chipped in with six pass knockdowns, which is second on the club.

Outstanding offensive lineman: John Comiskey

The centre has only given up one full sack this year while being assessed a few half sacks against.

In total, he has 2.5 sacks against, the lowest on the team.

That is coupled with the fact he quarterbacks the offensive line and has had to adjust to different guards through the year.

Outstanding special teams player: Noel Prefontaine

The most important player addition this off-season, Prefontaine has a solid 75.6% success rate on field goals with a 46.7-yard punting average.

Imagine where the Esks would be without him this year.

Not in a good place.

Around the dial ...

The radio broadcast of Saturday's Eskimos game in Regina will be on 630 CHED (5 p.m. kickoff).

With the Edmonton Oilers playing the Vancouver Canucks at 8 p.m. Saturday, there won't be a post-game show on CHED.

If the Eskimos game is longer than three hours, CHED will stay with football play-by-play until the final play and join the Oilers broadcast in progress.


Videos

Photos