Hey Tom, can you fix this mess?

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

An open letter to CFL commissioner Tom "The Bomb" Wright:

What up, Tee Duble You?

Hope you're enjoying Winnipeg and those long league meetings aren't completely keeping you from sucking in that fresh, -30 C breeze at the corner of Portage and Main.

Read with interest (yawn) the release your office sent out after yesterday's inaugural President's Council sit-down, specifically your comments that the people running the nine teams realize "their knowledge and expertise and commitment to affecting the right improvements (to their businesses and the salary management issues) will lead to a better system that is fair to all our member teams, our players and our fans."

Now, with all due respect, sir, there's a pressing issue in the nation's capital that needs your undivided attention.

The Renegades are a mess.

Not as much because of the mass exodus of Canadian free agents (the latest, you may know, was offensive tackle Mike Abou-Mechrek, who bolted to the Blue Bombers yesterday) or late-February prognostications that have them finishing dead last in the 2005 East Division standings or whispers that season ticket sales are moving as slow as a lineman does from the breakfast buffet.

No, the great concern here is over an ownership that doesn't know if it's coming or going. Surely, you're receiving daily updates from your good friend Randy Gillies.

Hopefully, he's explaining to you exactly how it is that he and fellow majority shareholder Bill Smith have not been able to agree on a deal in the last six months. Because none of us can figure it out.

We understand that Smitty has had an illness hit his family. We like him and we truly sympathize. But we're also hearing there's more to the stalemate than that. We're being reminded that, four years ago, the ownership was sold on a concept the CFL has failed to meet.

That Gillies, Smith and their minority partners have lost a lot more money than they thought they could. That last year, Gillies wanted to put the brakes on the spending and Smith's choice was to open the wallet wider, to give the Renegades a chance at competing with the other owners who were ignoring the "salary guidelines."

We've heard much about all the backbiting and finger pointing that commenced in the front office.

And that, with John Lisowski hired to closely scrutinize the budget in 2004, the Renegades still lost enough money to make both Gillies and Smith question their partnership in this venture. And that deep down, each of these two very wealthy men would like to get out, but neither can figure out what their shares should be worth and neither wants to suffer the indignity of admitting defeat to the other. What if Smith took over and built the team into a money making, championship winning success? Or if Gillies did? How would that make the departed partner feel?

"It appears as though it's become more personal than business," one source told us. "They're acting like rich children, and the people who are suffering are the football fans in Ottawa."

GLIEBERMANS RIGHT CHOICE

Word of advice for you, Tee Duble You. Convince both Gillies and Smith that the right thing to do is move on. Then get on the phone to Bernie Glieberman and broker a deal that would see the Detroit real estate developer buy up 100% of the team. Listen, we understand that you're hesitant to bring back the owner of a Rough Riders team that people remember as having a circus-like atmosphere. But please, take it from a guy who covered the team for this newspaper on a daily basis -- it wasn't nearly that bad.

Most of the misconception was based on the fact that the team's president -- Bernie's son, Lonie -- was a 26-year old most interested in dating cheerleaders. Truth is, he liked those girls a lot. Who didn't?

And why would anyone care who he dated? He also had very good marketing ideas and a love of the game. Shouldn't that matter more?

Now, a decade later, Lonie and his dad have everything you need in an Ottawa owner: Experience, a lot of money, an eagerness to spend it, a strong interest in buying the team and an undisputed passion for the CFL.

There is no lineup of investors for the Renegades. There are no other good choices. Right now, the Gliebermans are not only an option -- they may also be the only chance for football to survive in Ottawa.

Get on the horn, Tee Duble You.

Sincerely, Dee Bee.


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