Blue Bomber bombshell

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' head coach Jim Daley was confronted by board member David Asper following...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' head coach Jim Daley was confronted by board member David Asper following the club's 19-17 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (Winnipeg Sun File/Marcel Cretain)

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

David Asper has resigned from the board of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, after getting into a confrontation with players, coaches and even CEO Lyle Bauer following Saturday's loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Asper, past chairman of the board and vice-president of CanWest Global Communications, is also a big booster of the club.

But his behaviour Saturday night, and subsequent resignation, removes him from the decision-making process within the community-owned organization.

It was shortly after the gun sounded on the Bombers' 19-17 loss, a defeat that effectively killed the team's playoff hopes, that Asper approached Bomber linebacker Lamar McGriggs as the player was walking towards the locker-room.

"He got right in (McGriggs') face as he walked off the field, (yelling) 'What the (censored) was that? What the (censored) is going on?' " a local reporter who saw the incident told The Sun yesterday, speaking on the condition he wouldn't be identified. "Lamar handled it better than a lot of players would have. He just kind of brushed him off and kept walking to the dressing room."

But Asper wasn't done.

Next he tracked down head coach Jim Daley, and this time he got physical.

'RIGHT IN HIS FACE'

"I saw him grab the coach," the reporter said. "He got right in his face. He was yelling a couple of profanities. Daley kind of said something back. He wasn't too happy, obviously."

When Daley entered the locker-room, Asper initially stayed outside, continuing his tirade to nobody in particular.

"He just stood there and yelled," the reporter said. "He was just basically having a temper tantrum."

It wasn't long before Asper entered the locker-room, where team sources say he continued to berate Daley, insisting he had the right to question the coach.

Witnesses say Daley told Asper never to talk to him in front of his players like that again.

That exchange occurred in a hallway leading to the lockers and was heard by many players, but few wanted to discuss it.

'EMOTIONAL TIME'

"All I would say is that it was a very emotional time, after a very important game for the organization," kicker Troy Westwood said. "Both coach Daley and David Asper wanted us to win, very badly."

Some players stood up and rushed to the hallway, where Wade Miller attempted to push Asper out the door, where the media was waiting to be allowed in for interviews.

One reporter saw Asper being pushed out the locker-room door by the veteran fullback.

"First and foremost, I'm a football player, and we stick together," Miller said. "David Asper is also part of the Blue Bomber team. He's done a lot for this organization over the years. What happens in our locker-room stays in our locker-room."

A member of one of the country's most prominent families and a local business leader, Asper persisted, and was finally escorted from the area by Bauer.

TV cameras caught Bauer leading Asper to another entrance to the Bomber office, where Asper, pointing and yelling all the way, pushed the Bomber CEO away from him.

Bauer was also reluctant to discuss the incident, saying it's an internal matter.

"There is something that occurred, and obviously there were discussions, there's no question," Bauer said. "The truth is best answered by the people that have made the resignation."

Asper, though, wasn't talking about the incident.

"I'm not going to comment on it," he said, repeatedly.

As for why he quit the board, Asper was cryptic.

"I would call it retired," he said. "I've got a lot of things on the go."

Daley yesterday said he'd prefer to keep his discussion with Asper confidential.


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