WINNIPEG - The cowbell won’t be banned at Blue Bomber home games, after all.
After adding the noisemaker to a list of banned items sent to season-ticket holders, the Bombers have had a change of heart, following a noisy backlash.
“You can call it backpedaling if you like,” vice-president Jim Bell said, Monday. “I choose to call it proactive on behalf of the club. We took our fans’ concerns into consideration.”
The original decision to ban cowbells came after some fans last season brought homemade ones consisting of paint cans filled with rocks.
Instead of choosing which stayed and which went, the Bombers banned them all, including the ones previously sold at their own retail store.
With Monday’s retraction, those will continue to be allowed — in fact, the Bombers will begin stocking the shelves with them again — while the homemade ones are prohibited.
“Every decision we make around our game-day experience is safety first,” Bell said. “We are very very fortunate fans bring their passion to the game. We also ask they just respect a few rules with respect to safety.”
The team is also banning plastic water bottles this season, a decision that isn’t only about safety.
“There’s definitely a business side to that,” Bell said. “If you go to a movie, have you ever tried to take in your own popcorn and your own drinks? But there’s more to it.”
Things got a little testy in the trenches during the first session, with O-lineman Jordan Taormina and D-lineman Andre Caroll on the verge of fisticuffs.
“The offensive line has to compete,” Taormina said. “Basically our force against their force. And our coach teaches finish. So sometimes we finish and the defensive guys, they get a little... a little touchy. Everyone’s mean and physical, so things happen down there.”
Caroll shrugged it off, too.
“Sometimes you have frustrations,” he said. “Everybody’s trying to go hard and try to prove themselves. So there’s always going to be a little intensity there. He blocked me. He got me. I felt like he tried to finish me. But it’s all good. We’re still friends.”
Joining starting right tackle Andre Douglas on the sidelines Monday was left tackle Glenn January, with what head coach Paul LaPolice described as a “lower leg pull.”
“We’ll hold him out for a couple of days,” LaPolice said. “I want to be cautious. Both of those guys weren’t going anyways to the game. So we’ll hold them out and get them healthy.”
Coupled with the off-season departures of Brendon LaBatte (free agency) and Obby Khan (retirement), the injuries mean the Bombers will go into Thursday’s preseason game in Montreal with at least four new starters on the O-line.
“Not overly concerned,” LaPolice said. “There’s a lot of training camp left before the first game.”
BAD NEWS BOWMAN
Linebacker Marcellus Bowman (leg) won’t be on the field for “at least another week,” LaPolice said.
And while Deon Beasley returned, fellow DB Darrell Pasco is on the limp.
“It’s attrition,” the coach said. “When one or two DB’s go down, more guys get reps and that’s when things happen.”