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Former Riders operating again Kenton Keith says the crew confronted racism in Regina

Picture courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Former Roughriders operating again Kenton Keith believes his response to the racism he skilled whereas taking part in in Saskatchewan could also be why he was not allowed to retire as a Rider .

Keith, who final performed for the franchise in 2006 and has not been beneath an expert contract since 2010, has lengthy campaigned for an opportunity to formally retire as a member of the Roughriders . In an interview with 620 CKRM’s The Sportscage, the longtime ball service mentioned he had discussions with former teammate and present Riders common supervisor Jeremy O’Day in regards to the risk however was denied on account of his time with the franchise is lengthy. sufficient to think about.

“It damage me as a result of Saskatchewan is the place that received me began, it gave me a lift in my profession and it gave me a platform to have the ability to showcase my expertise,” Keith admitted. “Even earlier than I met my spouse and began my household there, I simply felt like I am a loyal individual. With regards to my crew, my coaches, my gamers, that is actually what I believe. So after I take into consideration Saskatchewan and people occasions I used to be up there, I simply felt like I used to be a part of a much bigger state of affairs. “

Nevertheless, when requested if he believes a scarcity of “maturity” throughout his tenure in Regina contributed to the membership’s displeasure with the retirement guidelines, Keith agreed – though he did controversy over his habits whereas with the Riders. Usually the topic of controversy, he believes the general public has by no means been given the total story of occasions that he says weren’t his fault.

“I might have spent a number of time making an attempt to show to the followers and show these conditions to folks [weren’t indicative of me] however I did that within the [general manager’s] workplace,” Keith mentioned. “Each little incident that got here up about me, I needed to come to the workplace, discuss it as a result of I needed to show that it wasn’t me or one thing that was mishandled or one thing like that was it. However that state of affairs by no means will get to the general public.”

That features a high-profile incident at a Regina nightclub in 2006, the place Keith was charged with assault after allegedly injuring a person in a brawl. The fees have been dropped after a regional courtroom decide deemed the Crown’s case not robust sufficient to go to trial, leaving Keith with no regret.

“Even in that state of affairs, if I needed to do it over once more, I’d do the identical factor. Individuals do not perceive, as Roughriders at the moment – I am simply speaking about that point and I do not need this to go too far – we have been coping with a number of various things,” he defined. .

“There have been a number of racial slurs. We weren’t allowed sure locations due to who we have been. There was an enormous group of bodybuilders on the market that we did not like all of us moving into and generally, that wasn’t put ahead by us.”

He notes a definite distinction in the way in which Rider Nation treats gamers now in comparison with his taking part in days, which contributed to the crew’s unhealthy status on the time. He recommended that merely participating in common actions posed a danger to gamers.

“We would simply attempt to exit and have enjoyable and we would have N-words and every kind of various issues. A few of us come from locations the place that stuff goes on and it’s important to defend your self,” mentioned Keith. “You are still coping with a bunch of younger children. I imply, sure, we play soccer however on the similar time, we’re solely 21. We had a number of errors to make in our lives anyway; sadly, a few of that stuff needed to occur up right here.”

“However, like I mentioned, if I used to be put in the identical place as I used to be again then, I’d nonetheless be doing the identical factor as a result of folks do not perceive that I needed to defend somebody. I had to assist somebody out of a state of affairs the place they might have been killed. “

Regardless of the troublesome circumstances off the sector, Keith grew to become some of the thrilling Riders in franchise historical past. In 4 seasons because the crew’s main operating again from 2003 to 2006, he carried the ball 610 occasions for 3,811 yards and 21 touchdowns, whereas catching 126 passes for 1,175 yards and eight majors.

Named a West Division all-star in 2004 and 2006, Keith made the leap to the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007. He carried the ball 121 occasions as a backup to Professional Bowler Joseph Addai, racking up 533 yards speeding. and three landing passes together with 77 yards receiving and one rating by way of the air.

Keith completed his profession with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, taking part in elements of 1 season earlier than being launched on account of damage.

Now 42 years previous, Keith has no regrets about leaving for the NFL and the way profitable he was there. Nevertheless, regardless of the ugly occasions he skilled in Regina, he needs he had stayed in Saskatchewan so he might elevate the Grey Cup with the crew in 2007.

“That is the one factor I did not get in my complete profession, it was a championship. That being mentioned, I in all probability would have stayed in Saskatchewan yet another 12 months, if not two, simply to go forward and put the plan out with Saskatchewan,” he admitted.

“I really feel just like the recruiting that Danny Barrett and Roy Shivers have been doing and the constructing that we did for the three or 4 years that I used to be there, the following 12 months after they have been fired and when ‘ I left, I really feel all of us felt that method. that we are going to have the 12 months within the Grey Cup a minimum of.”

The flexibility to retire with the crew would have been a welcome reward, however not one which appears to be coming anytime quickly. Ultimately, he sees it as a disappointment that the membership refused to try this.

“I introduced every thing I needed to Saskatchewan. I gave my coronary heart. I performed with my coronary heart, blood on my shoulders – every thing,” Keith mentioned. “I gave every thing I had and I simply needed that again.

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