Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Moon makes me proud to have played in CFL

  • Print

They say you have to experience some things first hand to truly and fully appreciate them. Whether it's a live concert, a lecture series, or in this case, an appearance with Warren Moon in Minnedosa, Man., many things make a bigger impression on you when visited in person.

I had just arrived to the CFL when Warren was inducted into the league's hall of fame in 2001, and later on, I vaguely recalled his story about the obstacles he had to navigate on the road to becoming the only player in professional football to be enshrined in both the NFL and CFL halls of fame in 2006. Listening to him recant his journey this past Saturday night, however, was an experience I thought that should be shared again and something to be explored further during the upcoming celebration of the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto.

It was the 15th Annual Sports Dinner in Minnedosa, a huge fundraising event for the town to benefit amateur athletics in their community, and regardless of the small size of the town and the banquet, they sure had some big ambitions about who their guest speaker would be.

In a town of about 2,500 people, almost 10 per cent of their populace was in attendance at this dinner, but in conjunction with a number of generous sponsors, that was more than enough to fly in Warren Moon and cover his appearance fee -- which led me to question exactly what kind of cash crops they are growing out there in god's country. In his address, Warren mentioned that he is usually driven to his speaking engagements via a limousine or town car, so when the local plumber from Minnedosa scooped him in his pickup truck, he knew he was in for a night unlike any other.

As someone also on the entertainment docket for that evening, I assumed the role of the undercard and hype man for Warren Moon, and preceded his words by sharing with the audience everything that I had discovered that we had in common. For instance, we were both undrafted free agents to the NFL -- Warren, because he refused to give up on his belief that his talents were best suited as a quarterback, and myself, well, because I wasn't good enough to get drafted.

I also felt it noteworthy to mention that our CFL careers had several parallels. He won five consecutive Grey Cups with the Eskimos in the early 1980s -- a feat that may never be repeated by any team -- and I, of course, lost three Grey Cups over 11 years. Very similar in degrees of difficulty, and both things you may never see again.

I lastly joked that I knew what Warren went through as he battled against racial profiling and discriminatory viewpoints that concluded he didn't have the right physical tools or cognitive wherewithal to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, since I too had to fight against opposite, mocking forces of disbelief down south as a white, Canadian, defensive lineman.

But in all seriousness, Moon went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play professional football, yet were it not for the Edmonton Eskimos and the CFL, he may never have achieved this distinction.

Even after a heralded collegiate career, Warren Moon barely got a sniff from the NFL, mainly because he was an African American playing at a position that few in the NFL felt he could be successful at.

Luckily for Warren, Hugh Campbell and the Edmonton Eskimos were able to able to recognize the skill set that Moon brought to the table as a quarterback, and refused to typecast him as a receiver or defensive back. After his involvement in what has to be the most dominant stretch of football by any professional team in history, Warren finally got to realize his dream in the National Football League and was signed to a deal that made him the highest-paid player of that era.

The fact that he had to accomplish so much and virtually eradicate every conceivable doubt about his abilities before he was even sought after south of the border, just goes to show how many walls and preconceived prejudices he had to defeat and overcome to assume his rightful place in football lore.

At an event designed to raise money to give kids better opportunities to compete in sports, they could not have chosen a better representative than Warren to convey how important these opportunities are, nor a better small town to host us.

Warren's story makes one proud to have ties to the Canadian Football League, its history of pioneering players and managers, and its importance and role in the career of one of the best that ever played the game.

Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays in the Free Press.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2012 C4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Weather Standup- Catching rays. Prairie Dog stretches out at Fort Whyte Centre. Fort Whyte has a Prairie Dog enclosure with aprox. 20 dogs young and old. 060607.
  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google