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CFLers need to remain ‘footloose’


Plans by CFL executives to copy the NFL and outlaw dances during touchdown celebrations never quite made it to official legislation, perhaps because the Calgary Stampeders have vowed to suppress their end-zone creativity in the coming season.

The Stamps irked many execs last year by taking TD celebrations to new heights with well choreographed and highly imaginative gyrations.

A former CFL player, however, is questioning the dance bashers. In fact, Daved Benefield, who toiled in the CFL from 1992 through 2005 and does a bit of broadcasting on the league these days, wonders if the differences over TD celebrations is a racial issue.

Benefield, who is black, writes on the CFL’s website that “most of the players credited with — or blamed for — injecting new forms of celebration” into football have been black. Benefield sites examples, including Ickey Woods and his Ickey Shuffle, Jamal Anderson’s Dirty Bird and the collected works of Deion Sanders.

“Are white fans and viewers who complain about Sanders’ end-zone routines reacting, at least in part, to the colour of his skin?” Benefield asks.

And, he asks, when Calgary receivers do their thing, “what is the problem? What is the thought process of those against the celebration? We all know there is a difference in cultures like there is a difference of races, but why should one race or culture try to conform, or cross over, to placate the other? Is the player who doesn’t celebrate who happens to be black a sellout? Or why does the white kicker who decides to bust a move considered an idiot or dumb looking? Why can’t it be his way of celebrating the moment?

“Which for me was a great moment. It was real, and spontaneous. Life is made up of great moments and the last thing anybody should be telling a young man, or even an old man, is to not enjoy his moment or to curb his enthusiasm. One day the career will be over and the moments will rush through you like bad Sushi and the blown opportunities will haunt you like the girl that got away.”

•The Montreal Alouettes are close to signing quarterback Anthony Calvillo to a contract worth more than $600,000 a season.

Sources say Calvillo’s pact will be similar to one QB Dave Dickenson signed recently with the B.C. Lions.

The two are the highest paid players in the CFL, by far.

• And another high-profile QB is being dangled as trade bait these days.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are making Jason Maas available, just as the Toronto Argonauts have deemed Damon Allen expendable.


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