Foley follies, the final chapter
Wow, what a whirlwind 24 hours in the Canadian Football League!
One of the things that is kind of neat about being a blogger, is you still get to be a fan. I make no bones about the fact I am a Lions fan, and never will. Today the fan in me took over for a good part of the afternoon as I learned of the signing of Ricky Foley by the Toronto Argonauts.
The blogger in me had reported last night, after an official press release by the club and reports from other media outlets, that Foley was indeed returning to the Lions. Later that night and after I had gone to bed, his agent, Paul Sheehy tweeted saying:
Hey Canada, not so fast on ex #CFL, #Jets & #Seahawks Ricky Foley-to-BC Lions talk. Still premature, anything can happen. More in the a.m.
As I drove to work this morning there seemed to be some feeling out there that Foley had changed his mind over night. Foley himself then came on the TEAM 1040 (43:01 in) and announced he was returning to the Lions. Done deal right? Not so fast. At around 2:00pm local time, Foley’s agent tweeted that Foley had officially signed with Argos and followed that up with a post on his firms website.
So today I went through the range of emotions fans go through. The highs and the lows of being a fan, all in a matter of hours, and not a single down played. I made some comments on Twitter that looking back I wish I didn’t but hey, Ricky Foley just finished telling “me” that he was coming back, how dare he!
I’ve listened to the interviews, I’ve read the quotes and when you hear Ricky Foley in that interview this morning, he’s saying all the right things, but you can hear doubt in his voice. That Foley changed his mind within hours and reportedly several times in the last 24 hours, tells you how difficult this decision was for him. Playing on front of his friends and family was no doubt the deciding factor, and you certainly can’t fault Foley making the decision that he did. However, you can fault him, and to a greater extent his agent for how it all went down today. The Lions of course jumped the gun on the official announcement last night, starting the whole process in motion, but in fairness to them they did say “agreed to terms”. To their credit some media members such as Jim Mullin of CKNW and Lowell Ullrich of The Province, held off reporting Foley was a Lion and knew the Argos were in play as evidenced by this post shared by Mullin.
So, Ricky, good luck to you in Toronto except when you play the Lions of course. Sorry about those things I said, just as I’m sure you’re sorry for that radio interview this morning.
Tillman deserves a 2nd chance
The other CFL topic dominating the day of course was the signing of Eric Tillman as the next general manager of the Edmonton Eskimos. Tillman of course was accused of sexually assaulting his 16 year old babysitter and resigned as GM of the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a result of those accusations. The signing has caused a huge uproar in Edmonton, with season ticket holders threatening not to renew their tickets, and various abuse organizations speaking ut against the hire.
No one condones what Eric Tillman did but the fact that the family of the girl and the girl herself has publicly forgiven Tillman should hold some weight here. Tillman seems remorseful over the incident and by the comments of many others it was totally out of character coming from the Tillman they knew. Tillman will have to live with his actions, but he also deserves a 2nd chance.
The club has taken a risk with the public perception of the hire, but Tillman’s football resume makes him hard to pass up and the Eskimos are need of some organizational stability. The message has also been made clear to Tillman, whose contract apparently contains termination clauses. Eskimos president Rick LaLacheur has told Tillman, “There is a second chance, there will not be a third chance.“
Over time Tillman will have to convince the community that he is a an upstanding member of their community. In the meantime, he’ll try and rebuild the Eskimo Empire. It was a good football hire by the Edmonton Eskimos.