Brendon LaBatte has come to terms that he may have played his last CFL game.
As he’s on the verge of turning 35 with three young kids, he says going into quarantine to play the 2021 CFL season is not worth it.
“My kids are eight and six (and about to be three) and we’re looking at the best two months this province has for weather. I’m going to go camping, I’m going to hang out with my dad, I’m going to do a whole lot of other things besides sit in quarantine and not be able to go out for meals or do anything in your home town when the province is going to be wide open.”
LaBatte says he made his decision last Saturday, when he would have had to start his two-week home quarantine.
“I just said ‘I’m not doing this. I’m going out to the lake’ and ended up going fishing with my dad for the first time ever. We were out on the boat doing that. Didn’t even talk about this decision. I just woke up Sunday morning and I was like ‘Going into quarantine and missing out on all this isn’t worth it for me right now.’”
LaBatte is referring to the ‘stay-at-home’ edict CFL players face for this season. As he understands it, these measures would be in place for at least six weeks.
He says he would be fine with being stuck in a hotel during road games. But not when he’s at home.
“The ask has never been bigger to play and the reward has never been less,” he says.
‘The reward’ being the salary cut he would be taking.
“Twenty-two per cent (of my salary) by losing four games. You look at it and even the quarantine, I think it’s about $550 a week. But I look at it, it’s 24/7 for seven days. So 168 hours for $550, that’s $3.28 an hour,” he says.
Yes, he’s thought about it long enough to do the math down to the penny.
The six-time CFL All Star expressed frustration that the restrictions are the same for vaccinated players and unvaccinated players.
“I was under the impression that if you were vaccinated you’d be granted some freedoms. And when I saw the blanket program get rolled out…I thought that was the incentive behind the provincial pushes, the federal pushes that if you want to get back to normal, we all gotta do our part and get vaccinated. And there’s nothing distinguishing there (in the return-to-play plan). All players are falling under the same category. I thought they might have some sort of two-tiered program.”
LaBatte says he is open to returning–though we should note he twice pointed to Logan Ferland as a guy who might take the job permanently. LaBatte mentioned the lure of hosting the 2022 Grey Cup as a thing that keeps him from officially retiring.
“I did tell (GM Jeremy O’Day) that I would stay in somewhat shape. Come later July or August I’ll probably get back into some routine.”