Friday, September 24, 2004

Renegades losing on the field, now troubled off of it as well

Well it wouldn’t be the CFL without some kind of controversy regarding ownership and while many felt that the Stampeders would be the discussion point this year, it turns out the mess might be in Ottawa.

Stories out of the Capital the last few days have a very unhappy bunch of campers in the land of the Renegade. With the team stumbling on the field the last eight weeks or so, the finger pointing and back biting is at full steam ahead. But in a twist of the norm, it’s the folks in the front office that are doing all the yakking and complaining, while the talent on the field try to get it all back on track.

Canoe released a story today that GM Eric Tillman may or may not be a member of the Renegades as he and upper management have been butting heads regularly since training camp. Today’s latest bombshell has it that a minority owner, Kevin Imsa wants to be relieved of his shares of the team, apparently tired of having to share in losses of 4 million dollars over the last two years.

Brad Waters who handles the bulk of the public face for the investors in the Renegades said that he would have no comment on the financial dealings within the Renegade ownership. He did however advise that the owners were dedicated to producing the best possible product on the field and are committed to the long term future of the franchise.

The underlying theme of discord has been long rumoured all season long, with the Tillman situation the most confusing for all observers. With Joe Paopao’s duties being expanded at the start of the season and a new bean counter in John Lisowski in place to reign in expenses, many wondered what Tillman’s job position consisted of.

The low point for the Rens came last week prior to the Stampeder game when apparently Paopao was told to fire Defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry, Paopao refused managements request and put his own position on the line the story goes. Fortunately for all concerned the Rens won the game and the defence were a huge part of that victory.

With all the confusion and confrontation taking place behind the scenes, its no wonder the product has suffered on the field. With the season quickly winding down towards the playoffs, now is not the time for a divisive atmosphere in the dressing room.

For the sake of the Renegade players and the fans, the bean counters, macro managers and suits with cheques should sort out their problems out behind the scenes. Make your changes after the Grey Cup, which the Rens are hosting this year. Judging by the way things are falling apart in Ottawa, that will be an event the team won’t have much more to do at than count the gate receipts and cash the cheque!

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