'Little things' keeping Argos, Braley apart

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:16 PM ET

The first day of the Canadian Football League’s board of governors meeting came and went on Wednesday with no change in the Argonauts’ ownership structure.

There was thought the board would approve the sale of the Argos to David Braley from David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski.

But there was one small catch — the deal was not yet done.

“Little things in the deal keep changing,” a league source said, stressing that a potential agreement had not fallen through. “There remains some haggling.”

The league wants the deal done as soon as possible, but Braley didn’t earn his millions by making rash decisions. He wants everything in the sale to be right before he signs off on it.

Fresh blood

Neither Cynamon nor Sokolowski are at the meetings, which conclude on Thursday, in West Palm Beach, Fla. If Braley walks away, which few expect, the thinking is Cynamon and Sokolowski will keep the team.

In a perfect world, Braley would have become owner, general manager Adam Rita would have known concretely whether he had a job and a head coach would have been hired months ago. Though Cynamon and Sokolowski should be commended for trying to bring aboard another partner, they should have given themselves a hard deadline of, perhaps, mid-December, or at the most, the end of the calendar year to get fresh blood.

Instead, head coach Bart Andrus was not fired until Dec. 14, two full weeks after the Grey Cup, and as such, two full weeks after the league’s unwritten embargo on personnel moves was lifted.

Andrus should have been released the day after the Grey Cup. It was an indecision that had many outside the organization scratching their heads.

Simply, this is not a situation that should have dragged on into the first week of February. Free agency begins on Feb. 16, and there are major questions regarding management and coaching? It’s stunning.

In the world of business, it’s reasonable to assume that deals aren’t consummated without a lot of back and forth between the parties. But what makes this painful for Argos supporters is that so much more is riding on this than just the changing of hands. Had the football operations side been in place, a lot of consternation would not have existed, no matter who did or did not own the team.

Once the ownership issues becomes clear, perhaps the other aspects will fall into place quickly.

Within about five minutes of taking over, the first words out of Braley’s mouth should be whether Rita is his man.

Braley, if/once he takes over, will have to demonstrate the passion to fans that has helped him put out fires in B.C., and before he bought the Lions in 1997, in Hamilton, where he once owned the Tiger-Cats.

The CFL board would rather that one man not own two teams, but Braley’s reputation is such that there would not be a concern about any underhanded dealings. In fact, when it comes time that Braley owns the Argos, fans of the Double Blue might forget they spent much of the winter wringing their hands. It just never should have taken so long.


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