Super Bowl winner calls NFL bounty scandal “disgusting”

by Ellie Kim

Shantel Otchere, Ellie Kim, Sarah Taguiam and Jason Gavadza at Centennial College journalism in Toronto

Toronto —

“It’s a disgusting thing to occur.”

An ex-CFL and NFL player Jason Gavadza had that reaction about the NFL’s recent announcements on the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.

Recalling once playing with the Tennessee Titans under one of the coaches implicated in the scandal, Gregg Williams, Gavadza told students at Centennial College he hoped the football league bans Williams for good.

“Gregg Williams will never coach in the league again, I guarantee. If he does, it will be a shame,” said Gavadza during his talk at the Centennial College Centre for Creative Communications April 19. He also scorned Saints head coach Sean Payton for looking on and ignoring the problem.

But he thought differently when it comes to the fellow players who may have been involved in various controversies. Whatever they did outside the field, he said, he recognized that they deserved the high salary and fame.

“I never was asked or saw anyone taking steroids or human growth hormones. Never did,” he said. “They’re all great teammates. It really hurts me, because I was an athlete with all these teams.”

Gavadza’s career as a professional player started in 2000, when he played for the Baltimore Ravens and won a Super Bowl ring that year, but injuries sent him across the border to the CFL with the BC Lions in 2004 and 2005.

Despite the Canadian football league being smaller than the southern neighbour’s, he said that he enjoyed the CFL.

“It’s more down-to-earth, blue-collar people who actually have a job after the season’s over,” he explained.

The reality, at the same time, was the main reason he studied to become  a real-estate agent. After selling houses for a while, he received a call from the Toronto Argonauts in 2006 to play on special teams.  Eventually, he left football, because of the small salary.

The change worked in a positive way, but he said that athletes have to take care of themselves to prevent being injured. He thought that it is mainly an athlete’s responsibility, while the investors put a lot of pressure on the leagues for a “good product.” He warned the athletes to pay close attention and  stay away from concussions, as players these days are stronger and faster.

Now, it’s been six years since Gavadza became a real estate agent. Calling himself “Mr.Football,” he has been pretty successful.

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board’s March 2012 statistics, the real estate market in Toronto is booming, with the sale rate increasing by eight per cent and the average price of a home up by over 10 per cent this year.

He said it’s not good that the majority of the investors are from outside North America, due to the unstable stock market. But he considered the high real estate prices as a “balloon” not a bubble. Also an investor himself, he simply advised customers not to overpay and to stay patient. He also suggests local home owners should  watch their expenses and make “conservative” decisions.

The football photo on the back of his business card isn’t the only thing that shows his pride about his  Super Bowl glory. The condo specialist actually came in wearing the diamond encrusted ring, which he says he usually keeps in a vault at the bank.

He said that he still has a foot in the CFL and helps out with  events from time to time.

He plans to attend the 100th Grey Cup anniversary game in November.