Dear Hamilton Tiger-Cats,

on January 2018 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with 2 Comments

I beg and plead with you to not do it. That’s right, let’s take a deep breath, back away from the table and twist Nike’s slogan around… Just.Don’t.Do.It.

I know Mr. Tiger-Cats that you find it incredibly difficult to believe that I am writing a letter about the Canadian Football League that is not about the Toronto Argonauts and not about the Grey Cup. In fact it’s even taking place in January during the off season, but drastic measures are necessary when you may be on the verge of a colossal mistake. The continued pursuit of quarterback Johnny Manziel has the slimmest of chances of being successful, but it also has all the warnings of a gigantic car-wreck written all over it.

I understand that you have to take my views and criticisms at face value as I, after all, have rooting interest elsewhere. I am from Toronto and I cheer for the Toronto Argonauts, your greatest rival. So although we recently won the Grey Cup (and yes, that was included only as shameless jab for which I apologize for, but yet, don’t regret) my concerns regarding the pursuit of this quarterback is for the betterment of your team and the league and has nothing to do with the Argos at all.

At first I thought it was an interesting idea, maybe even a good one. A big name quarterb- actually, he’s really just a big name. He hasn’t accomplished much of anything on the professional side of things and is becoming more known for off the field antics than on. But I thought this might be a good fit, one that both parties could have benefited from, not to mention the league as well. His name would most certainly sell a few more tickets and jerseys and this would be a good opportunity for him to concentrate on football alone and possibly, see his stock rise again. It would shed more media attention on the CFL and I assume, see an increase in ticket sales across the country, Toronto included, when he visited. For the most part he had been keeping quiet and out of the news which for his betterment and yours, was a step in the right direction.

But this week, his agent Erik Burkhardt opened his mouth and well, the stench really hasn’t left the building has it. His “demands” for a “fair wage” means he wants Manziel to be close to the highest paid player in the CFL without ever having taken a snap. He speaks of a January 31st deadline for you to acquiesce to these demands otherwise he will take Johnny’s talents (wow, I wrote that with a straight face) elsewhere.

Hamilton, both the team and the city… don’t need Manziel. Regardless of what you see in his arm, look closely at what he has in his head, in his heart and who he surrounds himself with. The one characteristic above all that is needed for any quarterback to be a great quarterback, is leadership. Manziel and his agent have proven they don’t have that. Instead they are fueled by their own selfish ego and have admitted it openly in this statement. There is no problem with a person getting what they feel they are worth, even if it far exceeds everyone else’s expectations but they should at the very least have not done so publicly and in a manner that didn’t put you in a tight spot as they have now. I may be wrong, but it certainly appears that they only have their own interest at heart, and don’t appear willing to work for what may be the common good. Do you really want a person like this as the leader of your team? As the face of your franchise?

Do the right thing and look for a quarterback that is a leader and not a sideshow. Be a leader yourself as you once were decades ago, when you brought in Chuck Ealey. An African American quarterback at a time when NFL teams would never consider such a move. It was a step in the right direction. A step that helped change the landscape on the field and off. A step that should make every Hamiltonian and every Canadian proud; and a step, if I am not mistaken, that helped win the Grey Cup too.

A rival fan

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2 Responses to Dear Hamilton Tiger-Cats,

  1. Robert Deininger says:

    You don’t know what you’re talking about, and don’t have a clue! Johnny Manziel has leadership qualities. Just go back to the biggest games in his college career. Not one of his teammates, whether in college or the NFL has ever had a bad thing to say about him. He’s been a great teammate.
    He has been out of the news, and I assume it’s because he’s turned his life around. Who are you to want to deny anyone an opportunity to play? Especially in the CFL?! It’s a step above college as far as competition, and everyone has seen what Johnny Manziel did there! He even had success in the NFL, and would still be there if he didn’t screw up.
    Not only does Manziel need the CFL, but the CFL needs Johnny Manziel! He’ll be their biggest player and star attraction, and he’ll light up the league. Because for him, it’ll be like playing in college with the league’s level of competition.

  2. Dario says:

    Thank you for your comment Robert. I do believe you are correct in that Manziel and the CFL could be perfect for each other. Not because the CFL’s level of competition is closer to college football than NFL (I disagree there), but because the style of play of a mobile, scrambling quarterback is suited better.

    Manziel may still also have those leadership qualities that you talk about too. But if he has… let him start showing it. The demands he and his agent made solely reflected he was putting himself ahead of the team. They did this by a) demanding to be the highest paid player (or one of) without ever having taken a snap, b) taking the negotiations public to stronghold the team and c) mentioning deadlines and “other options” as a threat.

    Does this mean he can’t be a good teammate or a good leader? Of course it doesn’t, but in my opinion it sure doesn’t look like it.

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