CFLPA abandons Bombers QB

STEVE SIMMONS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Where in the name of Russ Jackson has the Canadian Football League Players' Association been in the case of Winnipeg quarterback Stefan Lefors?

Every CFL player, not to mention fans, should be asking that question loudly after Lefors was bullied/threatened into taking a huge mid-season pay cut by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Lefors left Edmonton as a free agent last season as coach Mike Kelly's handpicked choice to quarterback the Bombers. For that, honourably, he signed a contract that would pay him $150,000 a season. Nowhere did it say the Bombers would only pay him if he was the starter.

But when Lefors lost his starting job, the Bombers gave him little choice: Either take a cut in pay to $90,000 or we cut you.

Imagine the noise this would generate if it happened in another league, another pro sport? Imagine the reaction from a Donald Fehr or a Paul Kelly if a stunt like that was attempted on their watch?

Lefors had no choice but to agree to the cut. But the precedent here is troubling and ultimately damaging for Kelly and the Bombers. The question remains: Where was the CFLPA? And why have a Players' Association if it can't protect its members or the honour of a signed contract?

THIS AND THAT

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HEAR AND THERE

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SCENE AND HEARD

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AND ANOTHER THING

The still-employed general manager, J.P. Ricciardi, had a particularly terrible post-baseball draft, being the only general manager in all of baseball to lose out on a first-round supplemental pick, a second- round and a third-round pick, because he wasn't able to sign any of them. And no, don't go blaming the evil agent, Scott Boras, for this one. Boras had six first-round picks: Five of them signed. Instead, it must be J.P.'s charm at work, again ... The silly story of the week had baseball commissioner Bud Selig giving the thumbs-up to Paul Beeston as Blue Jays president. The truth in this, the two can't stand each other ... In this rather uninspiring baseball summer I have come to appreciate the straight-forward, critical and analytical Blue Jays radio broadcasts with Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby. They are having much better seasons than the team they are broadcasting ... How come the Philadelphia Flyers, who do just about everything else right, can't figure out this goaltending thing? They replace Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki with Ray Emery and Brian Boucher, as if that's an upgrade ... Want to feel really old? Carl Yastrzemski turned 70 this week ... Happy birthday to Anthony Calvillo (37), Kobe Bryant (31), Mats Wilander (45), Glenn Healy (47), Sonny Jurgensen (75) and Barbara Eden (75) ... And hey, whatever became of Razor Ruddick?

STEVE.SIMMONS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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