No end to dispute

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:55 PM ET

Remember when the Jeff Giles-led CFL used to brag that "our balls are bigger"? You'd never hear such talk coming from current-day commissioner Tom Wright.

Apparently, he has no balls at all.

After spending much of Wednesday meeting with Renegades owners in an attempt to resolve a dispute that has pulled the franchise into a muddy ditch, Wright opted to pass on providing an update for the media camped outside his Toronto office. The Wright way, in this instance, did not even include the courtesy of a "no comment."

Instead, the league's fearless leader slithered out the back door, with slippery Renegades co-owner Randy Gillies closely behind.

Hence, members of the press who had spent the day waiting in a lobby were no better off than those who had left phone messages that went unanswered by Wright.

With the three-year-old franchise in "jeopardy" (a term used by Wright in a letter sent to the Ottawa owners a week before), the commish said all he had to say about the six-hour sitdown in a statement that really said nothing at all.

"The Ottawa Renegades are an integral part of the league and are a fundamental fixture of the sports landscape in the nation's capital .... blah, blah, blah. Our single goal is to ensure that the Renegades continue to provide exciting, entertaining and competitive football .... blah, blah, blah."

What a load of crap.

What an insult to the intelligence of the paying customers wanting to know how the problem will be handled -- or the messengers who might have even been satisfied with a "listen, we're working on a delicate matter we really can't detail right now. I'll answer what I can and won't what I can't."

But then, if Wright had any spine at all, the Renegades probably wouldn't even know the mess they're presently in. Back in December, he should have demanded his little buddy Gillies get off the pot and decide whether he was bailing or forging forward -- right then and there.

The ensuing Gillies flip-flopping contributed greatly to the uncertainty that led to the desertion of free agents and season-ticket holders alike. Had he bowed out when he originally toyed with the idea, the Gliebermans, their money and their marketing plans would have been at work a full six months ago.

Instead, the insistence to shop for other serious buyers who have never existed combined with the indecisiveness of a millionaire you'd expect to be a lot smarter have left the Renegades in a huge hole three weeks from training camp.

And so the city and league are now willing to consider the Gliebermans as owners for the team? Nice.

Fact is, the CFL and Ottawa are lucky Bernie and Lonie are still interested in a product that would have been much easier to sell to the public with momentum generated by a successful Grey Cup, and with sports fans so very bitter about the NHL lockout.

If ever there was a winter to boost Renegades season tickets to the 10,000 mark, this was it. But no, less than half that number exists, and given the circumstances, 4,300 almost seems like an inflated count.

Funny, isn't it, that Commissioner Wright is so interested in landing Halifax as the 10th CFL franchise when his lack of balls almost cost the league its ninth.

NEWS AND VIEWS: That the New York Jets waived QB Ricky Ray this week should have some kind of impact on the Renegades. Because Ray is unlikely to get picked up by another NFL team, he's expected to either return to Edmonton (Ottawa's first opponent of the season) or be signed by a Renegades division rival, either Toronto or Hamilton. And if he does wind up back with the Esks, expect one of the Ticats or Argos to trade for current Green and Gold QB Khari Jones or Jason Maas ... DL Radim Abdullah, who was of great interest to the Renegades, has signed as a free agent with Calgary ... If no headshot of Lonie Glieberman is available, couldn't newspaper editors get away with using one of Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi without anyone noticing the difference?

WORTH REPEATING: "Everybody's getting to be like the NHL. If Bryan Rodney has an upper-body injury, he musta been standing on his head at the time. He's limping. He hurt his knee. Elgin Reid has an ankle injury."

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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