There comes a time in everyone’s life when they realize they are now older than just about every player in their favourite sports league.
I’m almost at that point.
Enter Donald De La Haye, 22-year old training camp hopeful at kicker for the Toronto Argonauts. You may or may not know him as Deestroying, a YouTube personality that is nearing 1.5 million subscribers.
De La Haye has a fascinating story. After his freshman year at the University of Central Florida, he lost his scholarship because he was making money from his YouTube channel. He ended up taking the school to court but the two sides “amicably resolved” the lawsuit in November.
He’s not exactly new to the Canadian Football League either. Check out this video he produced after visiting New Mosaic Stadium for the Labour Day Classic in 2017.
Honestly, it’s tough for me to wrap my head around all of this but I’m beginning to come around. We live in an age where “social media influencer” is an actual job and YouTube celebrities and their feuds make headline news.
De La Haye was only added to Toronto’s roster on May 19th and he hasn’t even played in a game yet but he’s already added to Toronto’s social media presence. It’s apparent that some his over 400,000 Instagram followers have now followed the Argos because the team now has the most Insta followers in the league.
The kid has already had an AMA on Reddit where we learned he hates pickles and is still trying to figure out the rouge. His last two videos on YouTube have both fetched over 1.5 million views with his latest video documenting his first few days at camp.
De La Haye is in tough to make the team as an American kicker but considering the competition, I wouldn’t count him out. This isn’t the first time general manager Jim Popp has made signings like this either. Chad Johnson anyone?
Even if this signing is a bit of publicity stunt, I see no downside to having this kid on the team.
The Argos are making some really good decisions this season with their plan to hand out 2,000 CFL leather footballs this year and host their first preseason game for the kids at Varsity Stadium on Thursday. I’d argue the team should be handing out ticket vouchers to schools for every game. Get those kids to BMO Field as early and as often as possible to make fans for life.
Even if De La Haye’s tenure doesn’t work out on the field with the Argos, the exposure the team has received has been invaluable. Could there be an off the field position in the organization? I know it sounds crazy but kids spend so much time on Instagram and YouTube whether we like it or not. Having a likable and marketable Argos player that can relate to a young audience could be just the thing that sets this franchise in the right direction.