Wednesday, June 6, 2007

And You Thought I Didn't Like This Trade Before...

Now, I'm not saying it's easy to be the General Manager of a professional sports team. I'm certain that it is not. That being said however, I feel I have to take issue with something that has just happened with the Roughriders.

Last week the Roughriders traded running back Dominique Dorsey and defensive lineman Dwan Epps to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for defensive lineman Eric Wilson. When this trade happened I admit that I was a little surprised and I didn't like the trade. But really what do I know right, I assume that Eric Tillman has a little bit more information about the trade than I do. So fine.

But today I'm scanning the Leader Post for the latest Rider gossip as I always do and I see that Eric Wilson has been released because, and I quote, "The Roughriders wanted to re-work his contract..."

So to me, what this means now is that we traded Dominique Dorsey and Dwan Epps for...nothing??

Now maybe I don't have all the facts. Perhaps Wilson got released and they are going to try and work out a new deal or something. But as it stands now, the Riders gave up two players (one of whom was their all-purpose yardage last year) and got absolutely nothing in return.

I have two issues with this. First of all, am I the only one confused/upset/baffled by this decision. As a GM you would know what the contract status is of the person you are trading for. And if you had even the slightest inkling that he wasn't going to re-work it and take less money, why would you bother trading for him in the first place? And why would you expect someone whom you had just traded for to re-work his contract. I really fail to see the logic behind this. If I'm the only one, I'll shut up. But can someone explain this one to me please?

My second issue is that I'm not sure why the media has given Eric Tillman a pass on this one. You've just traded away two players, one of whom was a large contributor last year, and gotten nothing in return. And no one in the media bothers to question that? The info about Wilson being released was written in the fine print of Darrell Davis' daily training camp coverage. Obviously this is not earth-shattering news, but does Tillman not have to at least explain what went on here? Doesn't the media have a responsibility to find things like this out?

In every other major sporting league coaches and GMs have to face the media regularly. And they may have to do it in other cities in the CFL too, I don't know. But here it seems, especially since the regime change, that no personnel decision is ever questioned. I'm not suggesting that people in the media nit pick over every little detail but come on - ask a tough question every once and awhile, hold people accountable for their decisions - isn't that what being a journalist is about?

The one explanation I can come up with is that members of the local media don't want to lose their access to the team. I suppose it's tough to be a working journalist in a town with only one pro sports team if you're banned from that team. But the flip-side of the that is almost equally as bad. If a journalist is too buddy-buddy with the team then everything gets reported through rose-coloured glasses. The media here has to be unafraid to tell it like it is, not hyper-critical but not sugar-coating everything either.

One thing that people shouldn't lose sight of is that the Riders are a community-owned team. If anyone deserves information about the team it is the community that supports it and keeps it afloat. The people who support the Roughriders deserve to be kept in the loop about the decisions the team makes. If anyone says that the public doesn't have the right to know every little thing about this team, they're dead wrong. This is a community-owned team and the community has the right to be kept up to date on what is going on with the team. (Don't even get me started about the exclusive, for paying members only section on, what an embarrassment that is)

I don't mean to be negative for no reason, I just think there are issues here that nobody is willing to discuss.

Take heart though, we here at Sports As Life have no official access to the Roughrider organization, so we do not have to be worries about losing it. And quite honestly I think that puts us in a pretty enviable position - we don't have to be worried about biting the hand that feeds us, and other cliches of that nature.


Anonymous said...

Hey Luke, I left my best comments ob your Rider commentary the other day and I see again I can't get the most fundamental of computer tasks right. They were my most sarcastic yet and now lost in cyberspace...


Anonymous said...

I thought you were crazy, and i thought for sure in my memory the riders had picked up more than one player in this deal (still a small consolation since Wilson was who they wanted). After checking some sources, however, the riders did indeed release the only player they got from Winnipeg. I am upset too now. Let's see if your Leader Post counterpart picked up on it at all. Since he's really the only available mainstream "opinion" on the riders, i will label him as the biggest Tillman apologizer if this isn't brought up later this week. And no, i won't settle for a paragraph in the middle of Robservations. I guess he has an excuse to miss rider stories though - that Regina jazz scene is a full time job to cover in itself.