Ticats put spy scandal behind them

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly deflected questions about the alleged spying incident yesterday,...

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly deflected questions about the alleged spying incident yesterday, saying the matter was being handled internally. (BRIAN DONOGH/Sun Media)

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

Bob O’Billovich isn’t buying what the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are selling.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats general manager believes someone in the Bomber organization told part-time scout Ron Trentini to watch Ticats practice on Tuesday and take notes.

“Oh yeah. He was there for a purpose,” O’Billovich told the Sun yesterday. “I’m not sure who it was (who ordered Trentini to go). But they’ve apologized, we’ve accepted it, and we’ll just get on with the game.

“It probably didn’t help their cause, because I’m sure our fans won’t appreciate that happening when they get on the field.

“… I guess that just shows that they’re respecting our team somewhat and that sometimes guys will do anything to win.”

The Bombers (1-1) meet the Ticats (1-1) on Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Trentini had been accredited to attend the contest, but the Ticats have pulled them and asked the 36-year-old Toronto resident to stay away.

“We’ve got a big guard dog, a 100-pound husky named Boris, and the next time he shows up he’s going to take a piece out of his rear end,” O’Billovich said.

The Ticats noticed Trentini taking notes during their workout on Tuesday at Ivor Wynne, and they confiscated sketches of formations and plays. The Bombers say Trentini, who came to the organization through his relationship with director of player personnel John Murphy, did everything on his own.

“I will portray this as someone’s overzealousness, and the fact that because it was an open practice that he might have legitimately thought — with some degree of naivete — that it was within his rights to do something like this,” director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson said.

“… This episode was without our knowledge and certainly without any kind of solicitation or recommendation. It was purely someone who is overzealous and was trying to take it upon himself to make a mark in the football profession.”

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly faced the media after Hodgkinson but refused to discuss the incident.

“It’s a non-issue, it’s been handled internally, and I’m not talking about it,” a seething Kelly said, eventually storming off when questions about the subject continued.

The CFL isn’t penalizing the Bombers, but it issued a statement saying the practice is “unacceptable.” According to a letter from the league office that Hodgkinson saw yesterday, the next team that gets caught spying will face severe monetary penalties.

Hodgkinson said Trentini, who helped the Bombers at the CIS evaluation camp in March, will remain associated with the team, noting he has created a computer scouting system that the Blue and Gold plan to utilize.

“He is a good resource,” Hodgkinson said. “Obviously, given this situation, he needs a little more direction and a little more guidance.”

Hodgkinson admitted that this incident is a “blemish” on the Winnipeg Football Club, and he understands that some people won’t believe that Trentini went to Ivor Wynne on his own volition.

“As much as you’d like to apologize or do whatever, people will always be skeptical as to what the intent was and how it came about,” he said.

“And I can’t do anything about that. We can only be forthright and forthcoming as we were with the league immediately upon being aware of this.”

O’Billovich said the matter is now “water under the bridge” and that the Bombers simply need to do “a better job in their spying 101.”

And he won’t change his mind about the spying incident if the Bombers throttle the Ticats on Saturday night.

“If they do,” O’Billovich said, “it won’t be because of this guy, I can guarantee you that.”


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