Players get sales task

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

The concept is long overdue: employ the players to market their own league.

Trouble is, even the players chosen do not even know if they will be compensated for it monetarily.

New CFL commissioner Mark Cohon announced during yesterday's teleconference call that two players from each team have been designated marketing reps.

"The lifeblood of your league is your players," Cohon said. "And I am 100% committed to promoting our players. We have to make our players household names in this country."

Slotback Milt Stegall and centre Obby Khan have been named reps for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Yet, neither one has been told whether there would be any extra cash offered.

"Maybe I'm committing to it too early," Stegall said. "But no, I'm sure they're going to pay us a little money, which is the way it should be. We make money for the CFL, so players definitely should be compensated well ...

"I have been talking about it for a long time. I know we're not on the level of NHL, NBA, NFL or professional baseball, but we should be compensated for the things we do," Stegall said.

"We are the league. You see these commercials and they have actors, guys who are non-athletic and don't know what they're doing.

"That's a kick in the face to the players. You see an NFL or an NBA commercial, and they're using the players. This is a step in the right direction. We've still got a long way to go, but we're definitely making some strides and I'm happy the CFL is finally doing the right thing."

Stegall then took a good-natured dig at Khan.

"Why wouldn't they pick me? If I was me, I'd pick me," he said. "They picked Khan, though? I thought they wanted guys to look nice."

Khan admitted to being surprised by the selection.

"To be classified in the same category for marketing as Milt Stegall is a pretty huge honour for me," he said. "That's cool. Anything to help the league out. It's a good opportunity. We'll have some fun with it and we'll do some good with it.

"I think Milt gets all the money. I'm just along for the experience. I'll roll with it and I'll learn what I can from the Mouth of the West, Milt Stegall ... Whether I get paid or not, I don't care. Anything to help the league grow. If you help the league grow, you'll get paid somehow ... It's something long overdue and the league can really benefit from it."

Khan has been given a laundry lists of appearances to make -- charity events, fundraisers, promos, etc.

And, in a related subject, the CFL All-Star Game may also return.

In other subjects discussed, Cohon said it be a while before the CFL expands anywhere.

"That will take some time because it will be predicated on stadiums," he said.

'EXPANSION'

"A structural engineer will be checking Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa and stadiums in places like Laval (Quebec City) would have to be added to as they will need about 30,000 seats ... But hopefully, there will be expansion during my (five-year) tenure."

Cohon added that David Asper's proposal to build a new stadium in Winnipeg using commercial development to help finance it could become "the blueprint for success" that could help the CFL return to Ottawa and upgrade such older stadiums as Hamilton's Ivor Wynne.

"We have eight strong franchises and strong TV deals," said Cohon, adding that the CFL has a healthy relationship with corporate Canada.


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