“Players gossip. Players talk to players. Players get cut and talk to players.” That was Bo Levi Mitchell at Stamps practice Wednesday, facing a mob after a twitter crack about the Riders not having to fly in a batch of newly-signed players.
The implication is the Riders are playing fast and loose with roster rules about having extra bodies around and how much involvement they can have with the team. CFL Hall of famer Darrel Davis has a good read about the Rider situation on 3downnation.com, suggesting the team has as many as 95 players around right now, with the extras manning what they refer to as the ‘pre-practice squad.’
Let’s be clear. Every CFL team nudges the rules week to week. Everyone puts extra bodies on the one-game injured list so they stay on the payroll, but count against the cap. It’s harder to abuse the long term list. In the old 9 game days, it was easy to hide a player you wanted to keep but couldn’t use right now, like a draft choice that needed a year to develop. They didn’t count against the cap and could practice, practice, practice. Now, the 6 game injured keeps players on it away from practice for 4 weeks, and you pull if a guy early, his salary goes on your cap for the full 6 weeks.
I used to stock car race with a guy who’d point at the rule book and say, ‘I don’t read this part of the book,’ pointing at the text, ‘I look at this part,’ pointing at the blank spaces between the words. So are the Riders just exploiting what’s not written in stone? If so, it’s up to the CFL to change it. Are the Riders just blatantly breaking the rules? Again, if that’s the case it’s on the CFL to probe and punish.
The guy who’s responsibility it isn’t? Bo Levi Mitchell. He wasn’t wrong to post the tweet. The CFL says it’s ‘aware of’ and ‘investigating’ the situation. Since when? Did it take Mitchell’s tweet to start this probe? If so, shame on the CFL.