“I go on Twitter and that’s the first picture I see,” season ticket holder Tyler Santos told the Winnipeg Sun, Wednesday. “I was really shocked. I was quite disgusted by it. I’m 19 years old and no angel myself, but when you’re in the public eye you have to show some class.
“To show the public something like that, that’s not what a role model is supposed to do.”
A former defensive back at Sisler High School, Santos looked up to the Bombers No. 23, even got him to sign a jersey last season.
When he saw what Hefney had done, he immediately sent a Twitter message, with the photo, to Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice.
Seems the coach didn’t look at it, because the Bombers didn’t know about it until the Winnipeg Sun contacted the team.
It’s disappointing,” team spokesman Darren Cameron said. “It’s not the first time this has happened. We take this stuff very seriously.
“Jonathan Hefney has 4,500 people, we’re assuming three quarters or more are Bomber fans, that are following him. It’s just unacceptable behaviour. It’s an offensive message.”
Some of those followers are young kids, which really concerns Santos.
“My sister’s on Twitter,” he said. “Even my cousins, if they saw something like that, I don’t even know what my reaction would be. That’s the point: what if kids that age saw something like that, that even looked up to him more than I did?”
Santos can’t believe the Bombers aren’t more on top of what their players are doing in the public eye.
“That’s really surprising, actually,” he said. “I would have thought they caught that. They all follow each other on Twitter. I thought one of the other players would have stepped up and showed a little class. Not be the tattletale, but go to the coach, show him what’s going on and say this isn’t right.”
Hefney’s X-rated tweet comes less than three weeks after he said, via Twitter, Winnipeg was “F-ing up” by not re-signing Carr and LaBatte.
The Bombers have clearly had enough.
But they can’t really fine Hefney because he’s not earning a paycheque right now, and they didn’t have a hard, fast policy on social media.
They will, though.
“We have drafted a relatively strict social media policy that will be implemented once training camp begins,” Cameron said. “This is something that simply will not be tolerated. There will be fines this season.”
Meanwhile, the team’s reputation takes yet another hit in a pummelling off-season.
“The thing with the stadium being off track, and these comments being made, it really takes a toll,” Santos said. “I’m very proud to be a Bomber fan. We’re probably one of the classier organizations in the CFL. To see that sullied by just a stupid thing like this, especially after those comments about Greg Carr, it just seems like they’re losing the handle on him.”
Hefney’s Twitter page is wallpapered with pictures of him in a Bomber uniform. He’s representing the team, not trying to be anonymous.
How hard is it to realize what you post on Twitter is public?
“I want him to realize how he kind of let some fans down,” Santos said. “He was one of my favourite players on that team, and I was very disappointed. I hope he feels that way, that he let down some of his fans by doing that.”
We can only imagine image-conscious GM Joe Mack feels the same way.
Because this is the type of thing you might have expected under the previous regime.
And nobody wants to go there.