Kris Douse (BBC Herford) The Last 3 Months Have Been Like Law School Where I Learned The Ins And Outs Of My Rights In Germany

Kris Douse is a 31 year old 198cm forward from Toronto, Canada that recently completed an unforgetable season for the Westfalen Mustangs (Germany-2.Regionalliga). He will play this season for BBC Herford(Regionalliga). He played at Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute while Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson also played at Laurinburg (N.C.) prep. He started his college career at  Nebraska (NCAA) and then played two seasons at Delaware State. As a senior he played at Point Park (NAIA) playing  27 games: 20.1ppg, 12.6rpg. In 2011-2012 he started his professional basketball career at Liverpool Mersey Tigers (United Kingdom-BBL, starting five): 18 games: 15.9ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 13.6%, FT: 54.6%; then agreed terms with Keflavik (Iceland-Express League): 6 games: 9.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 44.7%, FT: 69%.In the 2012-2013 season he played for Turi Svitavy (Czech Republic-NBL): 2 games: 0pts, left in Oct.’12, in Nov.’12 moved to BG Aschersleben Tigers (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 17 games: 14.1ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.6%, 3Pts: 10.0%, FT: 50.4%. In the 2013-2014 seaosn he played for EVL-Baskets Limburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing  25 games: 26.2ppg, 11.6rpg, 2.2apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.4%, 3Pts: 32.1%, FT: 59.1%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for the Plymouth University Raiders (United Kingdom-BBL): 3 games: 5.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3bpg, in Nov.’15 moved to Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A): 6 games: 1.5ppg, 1.7rpg, in Jan.’15 signed at SG ErftBaskets Euskirchen (Germany-Regionalliga): 9 games: 21.8ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.7spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 62.9%. Last season he played for  Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games: 10.2ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 18.4%, FT: 53.2% He spoke to German Hoops about his nightmare season with the Westfalen Mustangs.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Kris Douse in 2013 in Limburg, Germany

Kris thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how sad are you that you can´t be enjoying the Canadian summer now?

Hello Miles, it’s a pleasure to update you on the situation and let you know how this whole fiasco is going. Currently I am in Herford with my new club that has been nothing but great the last few weeks and has really helped me get grounded and familiar to my new stomping grounds. As far as not being able to be home this summer this is mainly due to the legal circumstances, which is definitely not what I had planned for my summer, but I can say that it does give me a huge sense of pride to know that I am all in to fight the mistreatment towards me this season by the Mustangs organization.

Congrats on signing with Regionaliga team Herford. Was there a time in the last months where you lost trust in the game you love basketball or will any struggle not hinder you from continuing to be a professional

This whole situation definitely made me reflect and consider other avenues because stability is an important part of life, but I don’t believe I should stop playing because of another person’s actions and when I stop playing it should be on my terms. What is more surprising is how Florian Eichstädt is able to avoid court dates as he called the courts and asked to be excused from the first date for Temur and knowing him I am expecting him to do that on July 13 for Albert as well as myself on July 14. This has been a knowledgeable experience which I believe in the long run will be useful for my development as a person. I’ve been able to learn a lot about the German system and how the laws and regulations dealing with any job in Germany is regulated, and thus have gain a much better perspective on player rights especially when referring to contracts. I would like to take this chance to thank everyone in the BBG management especially coach Messenburg our Vorstand Mr. Jürgen and our president Mr. Steffen for the new opportunity in Herford and i am looking forward to an exciting season this year.

How tough was it for you on deciding on going to German Regionalliga team Herford considering what you went through the last months? One doesn´t want to meet a second Westfalen Mustangs.

 It was very difficult and required me to not only trust my own instincts but also trust another club to be honorable. That being said this situation has made me much more cautious of a lot of things in regards to dealing with clubs, but at the same time this kind of situation can happen anywhere. The one advantage I do have now is that the last 3 months have been like law school where I have learned the ins and outs of my rights in this country to protect myself. With the Mustang situation I think not being educated in how to proceed with matters like this earlier put me at a huge disadvantage, but moving forward I can now help myself and others when dealing with such matters.

Did you ever express interest in talking with your ex team Rot Weiss Cuxhaven? You were an important player for them two seasons ago and they did move up to the Pro B.

 To be honest Miles I wasn’t really focused on basketball most of the summer, all my energy was directed towards getting justice for myself and all those with me and before me. For 3 months straight I woke up at 7 am and trail blazed all over Westfalen to help all of us in the situation. This required going to the job center, Arbeit, lawyers, newspapers, tv stations, as well as the community all on a limited budget and few resources. I guess what I am trying to say is if I had the time to think at that time Cuxhaven would have crossed my mind, because I am still in touch with a lot of great people there and they were amazing to me during my stay there, but given the circumstances my attention was focused on other matters. That being said I would like to take this chance to Congratulate Cuxhaven on a terrific season and building on the previous year where we were the runner ups, it was much deserved and I hope to see my old club add to the success of this season.

 

Let´s talk about your unforgettable season. When you joined German Regionaliga 2 team Westfalen Mustangs at the start of the season would you ever have thought in your wildest dreams that your season would be such a bizarre and disappointing experience?

Wow I would have never seen this coming, I came here to build and grow and instead took a step back and had a year of my life taken from me. I never seen someone like Florian Eichstädt in my life, honestly I have no clue how he even sleeps at night doing this for the last 6-7 years. I had started a petition one for players and another for the community in Wiedenbruck, and the information gathered has lead me to one conclusion, that Dagmar and Florian Eichstädt are just despicable people.

Your season was a tale of two stories. The one was having a very successful season and the second one was the financial aspect. Let´s talk about the season. The club finished with a 19-1 record. Is this the type of season that you envisioned after you saw what the club was capable of doing in the first weeks of the season.

Honestly we would have been undefeated if the club did their part. There was a point at the end of the season where half the team were close to sitting out and forfeiting games but who we considered a friend and fellow teammate/manager at the time Sasa Cuic convinced us that it was not only in the club’s best interest but also our own to play the season and had promised us that we would be fully compensated through our sponsor who would be paying the debt. In terms of the team, we had an incredible team with unbelievable talent for the league so it was a no brain on how successful we would be this season. I commend all the gentlemen on that team for getting through the difficult times and coming out as champions and one day they will appreciate that one detail in this experience.

How much of a factor was the unending experience that the Westfalen Mustangs had for the success of the team? You had only one experienced German with Robert Huelsewede and guys from 8 different countries.

Some games it was tough because we were looked at as the villains a lot of times for all the imports, but it comes with the territory when your on an all star team for the league. We had a few young guys on the team that were also German but Rob was a pivotal part of the team. It was really unfortunate when we found out he needed to undergo surgery to repair his knee navies he was a great player and an even better person.

 

How content were you with your season. Do you feel like without all the obstacles, you could have performed even better on the court?

 I feel like I conducted myself as a professional. Whatever was needed I did whether it was playing injured, scoring , defending, rebounding, I did it. Of course the added stress didn’t help and had a huge impact on me personally as well as everyone else, but we stayed strong and won this fraudulent organization a championship and enabled them to still attempt to push forward for the first regionalliga.

Players got paid up until 2017 but then all of a sudden no more checks were coming. How did you react to this? What kind of silly excuses was management coming up with to keep you satisfied?

For me personally I tried to be as lenient as possible because I was looking at a four year deal with the club. From the very beginning salaries were late and short but in December the cheques stopped coming all together. At this point things got so bad he started trying to fire people to save money on the outstanding debts that he owed the players. I couldn’t count on both hands and feet the amount of lies told by the entire management from Florian, to Dagmar, to the messenger himself Sasa Cuic. One of the craziest lies was that we lost our Main sponsor because he didn’t have a place to sit at the game, but even that excuse shows how inconsiderate these people are, to have a community lead sponsor us like Pflüger did and not have anywhere for him to sit is unbelievable.

How far of an obligation do you feel did you have to the Westfalen Mustangs even when you weren´t getting paid? Did you ever feel like you wanted to quit? What kept you on board? Was it just having good faith anyway that you would get your money?

 I felt like I signed 4 years and we are going through a tough time. As things weren’t getting better I was thinking to jump ship because I did have other opportunities, but we were also on track to win a championship so it was very difficult. I never heard of someone going through this I’m in Germany, and I also felt secure with my contract and I had faith that Florian and Dagmar had some sort of decency and wouldn’t try to give players 100 euros to leave when you owe tens of thousands of euros to the players.

 

How difficult was it for you to keep giving good team and personal performances on the floor despite playing for nothing? Any other player might not have had the desire to leave it all on the floor, but you and the team did. How difficult was it performing well under stress?

It was very tough with all the conditions, the broken promises, and not receiving our money which made it extremely difficult. The one thing we did was stick it through as a team, it just sucks that good people were taken advantage of like this, it’s a real pity!

There were reports that players were put up in Refugee housing. Players didn´t have clean running water. Is this an accurate account and what other things did you experience in the last months that were just unbearable?

Yes this is all true, me personally I bounced from hotel to hotel for a few months before going to that place and it was something out of a horror movie. To add to this when Florian wanted us out of the apartment after we won him a championship, he broke into the apartment which was all caught on tape and said some unbelievable as well as unprofessional statements towards myself and the 3 others with me. When he came into the apartment I tried to avoid all confrontation and decided to go to my room, as I tried to close the door he put his foot between the door and the frame and aggressively started pushing on the door to come in. After a few moments I stopped holding the door closed and he bursted in and started pushing me and hit my head on the back on the shorter door frame because I had two seperate rooms, each with its own frame. He then came in and ripped the room apart taking my mattress, the tv, the wifi, I mean everything, and then continued to get in my face when my phone rang and it happened to be a friend of mine from Seattle that is a lawyer. Once on the phone I put it on speaker and the lawyer advices Florian act with caution, and in retaliation Florian went crazy and completely disrespected my friend on the other end of the phone. After this Florian called a friend and said it was to police saying we had to leave, and I told Florian if that’s the police tell them to join the party and moments later my teammate called the REAL AUTHORITIES. When they arrived they told Florian to go home and I haven’t seen him since. What’s sad is we are not the first to experience these things with this club, everyone in the organization honestly are just flat out terrible people.

Players were also forced to leave their housing, but because they hadn´t been paid had no money to get home. How did you deal with this situation? Did you feel like a homeless man?

It was funny to me honestly I wasn’t going no where he offered us 100 euro each to leave when he owes me roughly around 10k euro. I dealt with it in a way where I could respect myself as well as my family and held my ground and till this day I’ve continued to hold my ground. This might sound crazy but I knew that God would manage this situation because Florian is too bonkers to think that the community would support him having us run around in the streets. At this moment I knew he was truly insane! He should go to jail and that program should either be run by completely new management from top to bottom where no one involved now can take part, or brought down all together.

How important was it having another Canadian Michael Smith on the team? Was it comforting having him by your side and having a guy around who might have been a rookie, but not a kid anymore at age 26?

Me and Reggie knew each other from before because we grew up pretty much in the same community. Having Reggie around definitely gave me an advantage because we have a similar mindset and a different way of getting things done. Together we were able to strategically come up with the best possible approach to the situation. Considering this was his first year I got to give him credit for the way he handled everything, people back home usually wouldn’t stay calm in matters like this so I’m proud of him for going through the proper channels and fight back intelligently.

You have been seeking legal action against the Westfalen Mustangs? How has that process been the last months for the players?

Well the first meeting was canceled because Florian had called in sick so I was told and the next two are set for July 13 and 14 where I expect Florian to not show to this also. In Germany the process is long and slow but we all have dedicated ourselves to see it through.

 

Do you feel like you have found many friends for life with your teammates? How did this terrible experience unite you with certain players better?

 Yes the relationship grew from the crazy circumstances which forced people from all over the globe to come together, fight against injustice, and stand for something bigger then ourselves. Everything you learn in the game of basketball can be used in the game of life also. We had to trust, at different times others had to lead, and we had to be disciplined and stick to the game plan to get to our goals. At the end of the day we spoke little German, had minimal resources handed to us, and had all the odds stacked against us just like previous employees the mustangs had but we figured out how to build our arsenal and fight back, and for this I’m proud of.

This has been a season to forget. What do you feel did you learn from this horrible experience that has made you stronger and will help you combat any future struggle on your way up the professional basketball ladder?

 I made plans to build in Germany long term with the Mustangs and being bamboozled has made me have to make adjustments to my blueprint. The good that came from this situation is that it has enabled me to meet tons of great and influential people as well as new friends. As this has been education 101 on how things work in Germany and what your rights are as an employee in Germany, I’m definitely much wiser and resourceful from this experience and it showed me who I really am when dealing with adversity and showed me I’m much more then someone who dribbled a basketball up and down the court.

What is it about the game of basketball that will help you not forget this traumatic season, but help sooth that and let you continue to play the game that you love?

 I love the game of Basketball, it’s a passion I’ve chased since I was a child and I will continue to play the game I love until I can’t anymore. Basketball has given me a life that most people wouldn’t understand, and because of this I will always be grateful to the game I love. 

What were your thoughts on the 2017 NBA Draft? What guys do you see making an impact in the NBA?

 I think Lonzo Ball has the tools to be an exciting player in the NBA being tall and athletic at the point guard spot, shoots the ball from deep with high percentages, and has a great eye for finding guys, so I’m excited to see his development.

Where do you rank a Lebron now after losing another final in the neverending debate between him and Michael Jordan as the best ever?

 Jordan is the best to ever do it but Lebron is Lebron, to me he is the closest thing we have ever seen to a real life X-MAN.

Is Lonzo Ball the real thing? Do you feel like he will be able to develop further despite the antics of his father on social media?

 I think he will be fine in his development and be a respected pro. In terms with his father, I respect him a lot, in those inner city communities a lot of these children don’t have a father figure. Now you could say what you want about how he addresses the media but in my opinion he is just a father supporting his son and his antics put him in the position to be drafted 2nd in the draft. If more people growing up In broken homes and a father involved in their lives half as much as his father was a lot of lives would of went in a different direction, so I commend him on a job well done.

There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?

No one in the world can do what Westbrook does. But if he wants to be a champion I do believe he will have to make the same adjustment all great players have to do to in order to best position himself for the big goal.

What was the last movie that you saw?

 Taken 3.

Thanks Kris for the chat.

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