Jon Bon Jovi's bid to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills and potentially move them to Toronto in conjunction with Rogers, as well as MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum isn't going over well in the U.S., but it's also raising hackles in Canada. David Knott started a Facebook group of Argos fans protesting against Bon Jovi and his involvement with the Bills 10 days ago, and it already has over 230 members. Knott told 55-Yard Line Friday his campaign isn't just limited to Facebook, though; it's also targeted at local bars and radio stations. They're even planning to burn Bon Jovi CDs (literally set them on fire, not make copies of them) this weekend.
"We have a CD burning at our tailgate lot (York Street and Bremner Boulevard) Sunday before the B.C. Lions game," Knott said, adding that the event's set for 6:30 p.m. Eastern, one hour before kickoff of the Argos-Lions clash.
That's far from the only campaign they're doing, though. Knott said the group's emailed Toronto radio stations and pubs, asking them to stop playing Bon Jovi's music. While radio response has been limited so far, some pubs have already taken the group up on this, including The Court Jester. Knott said the group plans to keep making noise in protest of Bon Jovi's plans.
"We're showing our distaste," he said.
Knott said the Buffalo protests against Bon Jovi (which have gone as far as comparing him to Osama bin Laden) have made an impact, and he feels it's important for Toronto fans to show they don't welcome the rocker's reported plans either in a show of solidarity.
"We believe the Buffalo groups are making a difference," Knott said. "I wanted Bills fans to know that we also don't want the NFL to come to Toronto."
So, the Bills aren't wanted, dead or alive. Knott said the group also wants to send a message to Bon Jovi.
"We'd like him to know that Toronto fans are unhappy too."
That could be important, especially considering that Toronto's a big market for Bon Jovi's band. His group's sold more tickets (over 600,000 over 17 shows) at the Air Canada Centre than anyone else, prompting MLSE to raise a banner in their honour last fall.
"Toronto's a big place for him," Knott said.
He might be taking notice, too, as current Bon Jovi guitarist Phil Xenedis has joined the group. Knott said the protest isn't personal against Bon Jovi; it's about keeping the Argonauts alive. He doesn't think the team could survive under most circumstances if the NFL put a team in Toronto.
"Big Brother is breathing down our necks," Knott said. "If they come to Toronto, the Argos will die."
Knott said he thinks the Argos might be able to live on a prayer if they had the same ownership as the NFL team, something that's been rumoured as part of this plan. It would be challenging even then.
"If there was common ownership, the two could co-exist, but it would be hard to sell CFL tickets, and the Argos are already having trouble there," he said.
Fortunately for Knott and his group, Bon Jovi's chances of getting the Bills don't seem that high right now. However, Knott said his group's still planning to make plenty of noise to reinforce the notion that the NFL is unwelcome in Toronto if it hurts the CFL.
"We're not going to be unheard."