Tiger-Cats biting the hand

on August 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

The Canadian Football League has been a bit of an enigma over the last years or for that matter, decades. It is a great sport and an exciting game, but it doesn’t have the allure it once did. It’s not that people don’t know what’s wrong with the CFL, it is just that they don’t know how to correct the few issues that are plaguing it. Growing the game towards a younger audience, growing the game in Toronto or just plain growing the reputation of the sport as a whole. Well on more than one occasion this week, we got a clear indication as to why it hasn’t and it comes from the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

For the casual or non-follower of the CFL, the Hamilton Tiger Cats have done pretty good recently. In the past 4 years they have been to Grey Cup twice, opened the new Tim Hortons Stadium and in a sports related manner, also had the launch of TSN1150 which is a Hamilton specific sports radio station.

This year, however, has been the opposite and can easily be considered the exact equivalent of a flushing toilet. Halfway through the season, they still have not won a game. It has been that bad and sometimes making decisions under duress may not be the best thing to do. Desperate times may call for desperate measures so the Ti-Cats may have felt they had no other choice but to shake things up by announcing the hiring of Art Briles the former head coach of Baylor University.

Yes these are desperate times but hiring a man that was fired for how his administration mishandled multiple allegations of sexual assault by his players was an incredibly poor decision. The scandal came to the forefront just over a year ago and oh, by multiple I mean about 50 allegations. Now the choice of hiring this person is questionable at the very least. I am not here to judge Briles nor am I hear to judge the Hamilton Tiger Cats for their original decision to hire him. Plenty of people on social medial and regular media have done enough of that already. So much so, that for once, social media is even being heralded at forcing the decision at the end of the day to fire Coach Briles.

I am not here to diminish the allegations or the magnitude of what happened, there are people far, far smarter than myself that can dissect what has happened. What I would like to do however, is take a small, seemingly insignificant part of it and explain how my drive into work reaffirmed for me as to why the CFL keeps shooting itself in the foot.

I was listening to Dave Naylor and I believe Steve Simmons on TSN1050 and they were talking about the hiring/firing of Art Briles around 9:30 am on Tuesday morning. This certainly wasn’t surprising as it was a big story and Bell/TSN not only purchased the Toronto Argonauts but also the television rights for the entire CFL. Full credit to the duo as they were not sugar coating the situation but were honest about the mistakes that were made. They also took it a step further wondering what Ti-Cats CEO Scott Mitchell could possibly say to the press and fans about the past 24 hours. It was an interesting segment and once it was done I flipped to the FAN590 (I switch back and forth all the time) and lo and behold, what did I find there?

I hear Scott Mitchell on Sportsnet’s flagship radio station explaining that the club made a large & serious mistake in hiring Art Briles. I literally spit the coffee I was drinking at that time. I have this bad habit of changing the radio station and then grabbing my Tim Hortons coffee (shameless plug) before returning my hand to the steering wheel. I immediately began to wonder if anyone else had caught what I just caught.

In one of the most important addresses that the Hamilton Tiger Cats have had to make all year. A message that would generate plenty of attention. How do the Ti-Cats and the CFL allow this message to air first on anything other than a TSN station? If I were TSN I would be extremely upset about this. To have something that significant be presented on the competitions radio station should never have happened. I sincerely doubt any such Toronto Blue Jay message would have been on TSN before Sportsnet who are both owned by Rogers.

Now, there may just be a viable reason as to why this was done, if so PLEASE fill me in because at the moment I see only two reasons for this and neither of them are positive. The first is that this might be some retaliation from the team to the CFL as it was the League that announced the coach will not be hired before Hamilton could. The second reason is that no thought was even put into agreeing to be interviewed by the FAN590 before TSN. Neither explanation puts the team or the league in any kind of good light and unfortunately re-enforces the issues the CFL has as one should never bite the hand that feeds you.

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