CFL gag order childish

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

The CFL sent a message to Renegades fans yesterday. Basically, it amounted to this: Go screw yourselves.

At 6 p.m. last night, the league issued a release which provided absolutely no substance to what took place during yesterday's meeting involving Renegades owner Bernie Glieberman, outgoing minority shareholder Bill Smith and league commissioner Tom Wright.

The CFL has issued a gag order throughout the league that nothing is to be uttered about the Renegades situation.

So while fans continue to twist in the wind, and Renegades players and coaches are left in the dark wondering if there'll be a kickoff to the 2006 season, the league finds it acceptable to bring out the Cone of Silence.

That's just plain wrong and it goes a long way in illustrating how dreadfully out of touch the current league leadership is dealing with this matter.

At the very least, Wright should have made himself available to reporters to provide some sort of insight on what's going on.

Instead, fans get to hear this canned response: "Significant progress was achieved in establishing clarity and identifying options for 2006 and beyond."

What does that mean?

We know Renegades fans can smell the B.S., just like anybody else.

Clarity? There's none of that here.

Options? Okay, what kinds?

What are the football fans of Ottawa to assume? Perhaps they should do just that -- assume.

Assume there won't be a Renegades team this season.

Let's believe Glieberman, making like Howard Beale in Network, thumbed his nose at Wright, stormed out of the meeting screaming, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."

NO LAUGHING MATTER

Really, it's no laughing matter.

Perhaps Glieberman made a commitment yesterday to covering a portion of team losses for the upcoming season.

If that's the case, the league's not letting anybody know.

One thing that's known is Smith wasn't actually present at the rendezvous. He was out of Toronto and participated in the discussion by conference call.

Wright actually did confirm that he'll convene with the governors at some point later this week.

Again, no date was provided, but it's believed the call will take place tomorrow.

And during that call, the governors will consider and debate the possible moth-balling of the Renegades.

How strange it is that on the same day this debacle took place, the announcement was made about the retirement of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

What perfect juxtaposition.

Under Tagliabue, the NFL became a mega-sport in the U.S., and in many parts of this country. A wire story listed the outgoing commissioner's accomplishments as labour peace, unprecedented revenues through TV deals and "a place in the American consciousness where Sundays mean football."

Meanwhile, the CFL is on the verge of another major embarrassment, with a franchise in this city on the verge of once again being blown up.

Wright wasn't available yesterday to let Renegades fans know -- one way or the other -- whether yesterday's meeting provided some answers.

And soon, it'll be Renegades fans who'll be mad as hell, and won't take this anymore.


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