Commissioner fails to help Wright 'Gades' ship

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:55 PM ET

Thanks again, Tom Wright. Appreciate everything you're doing to ensure football remains "competitive and entertaining" (or however your crackerjack media relations department puts it) in the nation's capital.

Can't imagine where the Renegades would be without such a caring commissioner.

That would be the same Renegades who lost the chance to build off a successful Grey Cup and build a strong season-ticket base -- plus lost much of their strong Canadian content to free agency -- while you allowed the ownership picture to remain unresolved all winter.

Nice of you to at least help them be competitive with such a reasonable schedule to start the season, anyway.

Good thing you gave the rubber stamp of approval to a lineup of dates that started in Edmonton, then saw them back home to Montreal, then flying to B.C., then back home to Calgary and Edmonton again.

For a team that won all of five games last year, you at least gave hope of a 1-4 start, providing the Stamps didn't improve as much as everybody thought they did.

Nothing like playing the league's best three squads four times in the first month to help a team in its quest for "competitive."

You'd hate to have a start like Edmonton's. In their first five weeks, the Esks draw Ottawa twice, Winnipeg once and Hamilton once. No wonder it's referred to as the (Hugh) Campbell Football League.

Does the Esks ever-powerful GM have photos of you too, Tom?

And it's about that "entertaining" part. Obviously, you didn't mean entertaining anyone in Ottawa for the next seven weeks.

From now until Sept. 8, the Renegades play just one home game -- Aug. 11 against Saskatchewan. Forget that you should have known better than to buy Brad Watters' bunk about needing less home games in the summer, because everyone is away at the cottage.

Funny, bars and restaurants and movie theatres don't close down here in August. The Byward Market is actually hopping.

The worst, though, is allowing a schedule that prevents Renegades fans from even seeing their team for the next three weeks. In a time when most CFL games are available on TV, the upcoming two Ottawa tilts -- in Saskatchewan and Hamilton -- are not.

Thankfully the NHL has solved its ridiculousness, allowing sports fans here the "entertainment" of watching promises made on how that league plans to win back its fans -- without mentioning a thing about cutting the price of tickets. That should be entertaining, indeed.

Again, good work, Tom. You deserve acknowledgment -- a ring and the key to the city, maybe -- when the Renegades win the Grey Cup and turn a huge profit this year.

But you should probably help out a different team next year, just to keep things fair.

What about the Eskimos?

PULLING HIS PLUG?: It appears that fans may have heard the last of halftime karaoke singer Jonathon T. Henri, the victim of more boos than anyone at Frank Clair Stadium since Damon Allen was a Rough Rider. The reason? Bernie Glieberman and Wright think he's really bad. Gee, no kidding. But pulling the CFL's own version of William Hung off the stage with a cane is just wrong. Sure, Henri is painfully off key. But the folks in the seats are becoming united in their disdain for him. Southsiders and Northsiders alike have decided that it's really Henri who sucks.

LATE HITS: DE Ray Jacobs was nowhere to be seen at practice yesterday and the Renegades wouldn't specify a reason for his absence. "Coach P excused him for the day," said Renegades defensive line coach Richard Harris. "I don't know what it was about, but he needed some personal time. He's fine." ... The Mardi Gras Madness winner of $1,000 for most beads Thursday night was a guy who had an inflatable doll. Before you groan, know that he had the cheque made out to the 65 Roses charity.


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