Troy gets boot again

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:22 PM ET

Cutting Troy Westwood apparently wasn't enough for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Now they're banning him from the press box, too.

The team has denied a Sun request for media credentials for the former kicker and now part-time sportswriter, not only for tonight's game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but beyond.

"There will be no media accreditation for Troy Westwood for the rest of the season," Bomber spokesman Arash Madani said.

The decision contravenes the CFL's national media policy. Teams aren't supposed to revoke credentials based on a writer's disparaging column.

The move is just the latest fallout from Westwood's last article, which appeared in the Sun on Sunday and sparked a players-only meeting earlier this week.

In his column, Westwood suggested most players have lost respect for head coach Doug Berry.

Yesterday, the longtime field goal kicker stood by his story, which was based partly on his observations and partly on comments from the locker-room after he was released prior to the season.

"I'm not saying there's any dissension in the locker-room," Westwood said. "What I'm saying is it is my belief that because of the repeated misguided words and actions of Doug Berry, that, collectively, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have lost respect for the head coach. And I think it is the starting point of many of the issues and struggles and the record thus far this season."

The Bombers have just one win in seven starts, and are mired in last place in the CFL East going into tonight's game against the Tiger-Cats.

"I understand the sensitivity," Westwood said. "I have no interest into going in the locker-room. I respect that. But I don't need or want to go into the dressing room.

"Not letting me in the press box -- I don't understand what that could hurt."

Refusing Westwood a press pass has the Bombers in hot water with the Football Reporters of Canada.

In a letter to the team, FRC spokesman Darrell Davis says the organization is "vehemently opposed" to what he calls "a breach of policy."

"This sets a dangerous precedent," Davis wrote. "Having teams pick and choose who covers their games puts us in a police state of censorship. If teams banned media from their games for every negative article, I would suggest that eventually nobody would be allowed into the press box at a CFL game."

The FRC has also notified the league office.

Madani says the press box ban is "not something personal" against Westwood, adding the team gave him 10 season tickets after he was released.

"This is just an example of how much we value the nearly two decades of service that he provided," Madani said of the gift.

What had some Bomber veterans in a flap, and what led to the team meeting, was Westwood's knowledge of a speech Berry made to the team as the season began.

Berry reportedly told his players some of them were only on the team because they came cheaper than their competition.

"It's pretty tough to keep a gem like that quiet," Westwood said. "There were a large number of people who spoke of that after it happened. Everybody was fazed by it."

D-lineman Doug Brown said anything that happens in the locker-room should stay there.


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