The Toronto Argonauts and embattled mayor Rob Ford have had a long and complicated history, with Ford proving a useful ally for the team on some matters (such as
their quest for a new stadium;) and appearing at their Grey Cup celebration last year (where he raised the Cup, violating Russ Jackson's rule), but also hurting the team with his spotlight-stealing antics during Grey Cup Week and his passionate support for the NFL and attempts to bring that league to Toronto. (Oddly enough, though, the unintentional bungling of NFL talks by Ford and his brother Doug may have worked out very well for the CFL.) On Thursday, the Argos-Ford relationship again became strained, with Ford wearing his customized Argonauts' jersey while making vulgar comments on live TV (language warning in the video below) and admitting to driving drunk:
This video was from a media scrum when Ford arrived at City Hall, and was in response to
Wednesday's release of police documents that suggested Ford was drunk at work, did cocaine at a restaurant and consorted with suspected prostitutes. Ford appeared to take particular offence to the claims that he told a former staffer he wanted to perform oral sex on her, though:
"It says I wanted to eat her p*ssy and I have never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home."
Ford has already apologized for his comments, but the Argonauts aren't thrilled to see Ford wearing their jersey in endless media clips. They released a statement Thursday morning distancing themselves from Ford:
It's well-known that the Mayor is a big fan and supporter of the game of football. The Toronto Argonauts organization is not in a position to comment on the manner of dress of public officials. The situation with respect to the Mayor and his leadership is unseemly at best. These latest remarks, while wearing our team's jersey, are particularly disappointing given our organization's work in the community to help youth deal with issues of bullying prevention. We hope for the benefit of the wonderful citizens of Toronto and this great city that this situation is resolved expeditiously.
Shutdown Corner's Frank Schwab writes, "It's not every day a team has to apologize for the mayor wearing its jersey." It's not just the Argos who aren't thrilled, either, as CFL commissioner Mark Cohon told The Star's Brendan Kennedy he's disappointed the focus has shifted to Ford instead of Sunday's Argos-Ticats East Final, a historic clash that could set record ratings:
“I know he’s a big football fan,” Cohon said Thursday morning. “That’s his choice to wear that jersey. What I’m focused on is our games on Sunday and the Grey Cup the following week.”
Gallery: Rob Ford's finest football moments.]
Meanwhile, even the traditional mayor's bet appears to be off, but not thanks to Ford.
Prior to making those remarks, Ford said he was about to call Hamilton mayor Bob Bratina — though Ford pronounced the name “Bob Britannia” — to “tell him we’re going to have to spank their little Tiger-Cats.”
Bratina is backing away, though:
Poor Rob Ford. At least the NFL hasn't distanced itself from him and the
vintage 1995 NFL tie he wore while apologizing for smoking crack cocaine. Yet, that is. We'd say Ford should return to sports, but he doesn't even have his football coaching job anymore. We'll see if he pulls out the Argos' jersey at future press conferences: if not, is there another team that would want to associate themselves with him? At the moment, that list is likely pretty short...