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Rob Ford’s High School Football Team Loses the Metro Bowl

After a season of Ford-related press scrutiny, the team suffered a 28–14 loss in its final game.

At Rogers Centre on Tuesday night, Rob Ford’s high school football team, the Don Bosco Eagles, concluded what has almost certainly been the most memorable season of sports in the school’s history with a 28–14 loss to Newmarket’s Huron Heights Warriors. Had the Eagles won, they would have been this year’s Metro Bowl champions, a title Ford has said he considers to be “the grand poobah.”

After the game, when the players (some so gutted by the loss that tears were streaming down their faces) were safely ensconced in their locker room, Ford emerged for a brief impromptu press conference. “The first person who brings up a question about politics ends the whole post-game,” one of Ford’s retinue warned reporters.

Ford, who has been criticized for prioritizing football over his official obligations, vowed to continue coaching the Eagles next year. Then he offered up his analysis of the game. “It was just mistakes. Just mistakes and penalties. We were disciplined, but a couple mistakes in a championship game against Huron Heights or a team of that talent, you know what I mean? You just, you’re not gonna be able to come back.”

The analogy practically writes itself. Like the Eagles, penalized repeatedly early in the game, Ford’s mayoralty is now on the brink of disaster because of a rule violation. Monday’s court-ordered end to Ford’s term as mayor didn’t come about because of any real corruption on Ford’s part. His crime was more like incompetence. (The judge’s term is “wilful blindness.”)

If Ford was feeling downtrodden about his loss at court, it wasn’t evident from the stands. In front of a crowd of hundreds seated near the edge of the Rogers Centre field, the mayor-for-now stood among his players on the sidelines, fresh from the day’s council meeting and still wearing his suit and tie. He never seemed to react as his team gave up 21 points in the first half, without scoring a single touchdown of its own. Huron Heights was dominant, recovering fumbles and, in one case, a kick-off.

The Newmarket school had brought along a troupe of probably 30 immaculately costumed cheerleaders, plus a marching drumline. Don Bosco had fewer than a dozen cheerleaders, plus a girl in a full-body eagle costume. Ford likes to position his coaching and football fundraising as a way of helping underprivileged kids, and while there is reason to be skeptical of how well that characterization applies to the Don Bosco team, the Eagles definitely looked underfunded by comparison. Proud parents and students still let up a floor-shaking roar whenever their boys did good.

In the stands, it was hard to find anyone who didn’t express support for Rob Ford. All throughout the football season, everyone connected with the Don Bosco team has shared some of Ford’s spotlight as the blurring of his two public roles—as chief magistrate and as part-time amateur football coach—has become increasingly central to the story of his mayoralty. In the reluctance of some Bosco fans to speak to the press, one sensed a kind of shared siege mentality. Some students had painted their bodies with the school’s colours, green and yellow.

Khadijha Morris and Quinette Iravor, both 18, were in the Don Bosco section. Morris is a Grade 12 student at the school, and Iravor graduated recently. Both agreed that Ford’s involvement at Don Bosco had been a net positive for their community.

“He is trying his best,” said Iravor. “There’s always going to be someone or some people trying to put him down.”

“I feel for him,” said Morris when asked about the mayor’s recent legal troubles. “That’s not fair, and it sucks.”

After the Eagles’ 14-point rally in the second half, the mood among Don Bosco supporters lightened somewhat. Ford himself seemed not altogether dejected by the loss. During his brief encounter with the press after the game, it was remarkable to hear him, for once, talking about something within his realm of expertise. This is a guy with enough family wealth at his disposal that he could almost certainly afford to take a non-stressful job that would allow him to coach to his heart’s content. He managed to get this team to the citywide finals, so motivating young athletes is something he’s obviously good at.

Instead, he’s vowing to fight his expulsion from the mayoralty, a job he’s demonstrably not good at, and that he’s apparently unable to enjoy.

And that’s the curious thing about Rob Ford. By all indications, he doesn’t want to be happy. He just wants to be mayor.


  • Anonymous

    I bristle whenever I read Don Bosco football stories. It is not the kids’ fault that their coach — who, I dunno, seems to be a pretty good football coach — is an incompetent dumbass as mayor. I absolutely agree that the mayor should not be blowing off council to coach football, or putting assistant coaches on the city payroll, or etc. etc., but hovering over the players and fans — MOST OF WHOM ARE NOT ADULTS — to put some kind of political context on their play is in bad taste. Are you surprised by the fans’ “siege mentality”? I think they quite rightly wanted you to go away so they could enjoy the game, without having to wonder how they were going to look in the papers the next morning.

  • Anonymous

    You know if I decided not to show up for my job and went out to do things totally unrelated to my job instead, I’d get fired too. Maybe he should stick to coaching and leave being a mayor to somebody that’s actually competent and capable.

  • Diesel69

    looks like he cant even coach a winning team—-double loser week—

    • Anonymous

      I can’t help but wonder if his distractions at city hall somehow got the better of him.

  • Kenneth Butland

    What angers me most is Ford’s (and his supporters’) defense that he does this heartwarming “volunteer work” for the kids. Well, actual volunteers don’t put their volunteer hours in on their employer’s dime: It’s no longer volunteer work you’re getting paid handsomely for it, in Ford’s case, by the taxpayers. I earn money to pay Ford to look like a hero to these fanboy and fangirl kids.

  • ldonrutton

    This is a sad story. I believe Rob Ford when he says he was doing it for football and believe me, I’m not a fan of him politically at all. I believe him but still feel he should lose his job…immediately… and that he himself should resign. The rule of law, and lets admit it in this case common sense as well, made what he did a conflict of interest. A defence of ‘I didn’t know and honestly didn’t think it was a conflict’ and a belief he seems to continue to have that he is above the law (based on his apology to 1/2 of his constituents only), is no defence at all.
    He should resign because he didn’t know; and the rule of law must take precedence, as he should know as well, in a democracy. His errors are two-fold. 1. He did breach the law and should have known that it was a conflict: and 2. he should recognize that being morally right is not always the only thing; laws in democracies are a fundamental check on both abuse of power (which this clearly is not) and incompetence (which I believe this clearly is).

  • kidcarter

    I bet more than half the commentators here are at work. Is everyone here going to hand the money back? Make up for it for extra time? If found out, are you going to voluntarily quit? I hope at work, you have the ethics not to vote on the matter or advocate for yourself. Turn yourself in.

    Adam Vaughan, did he take calls on his city blackberry regarding any personal charity work? They should dig into that. How about the other councillors? Is there a dollar amount or time that can be attached to this. Is $1000 the amount, $200? Is it 3 or 5 emails if a city official asks for pledges for their charity marathon that gets them turfed? 20, 100? You know Adam Vaughan is probably up next for this type of activity.

    I’m so sick of this twisted value system of 3 strikes you are out, cut off a robbers hand for stealing bread, make fun of someone for their weight. It’s mean, not inclusive, and really about punishment, not justice.

    This whole Harper/American stand-in-judgement and be punitive is sickening.

    The right wing is getting out of hand in Toronto.

    I dislike Ford’s policies so much. He shouldn’t run again.

    But this is one dangerous precedent for Ontario. And the number of individuals ready to ruin a career on this matter is disgusting.

    I’m not going to bother with replies to this. The rhetoric, hate and trolling is ridiculous.

    Just put some peace in your hearts, and remember that we are Canadians, not some butchers out for revenge.

    • Anonymous

      “The rhetoric, hate and trolling is ridiculous”

      Yes, yours is.

      “we are…not some butchers out for revenge”

      No, we aren’t. This isn’t about revenge. This is about holding a politician who feels he is above the law, accountable to the law. A very valuable example for our youth, don’t you think?

      • kidcarter

        You know, this is the one I can comment on.

        It’s a good point. And I understand what the point is.

        But I can’t agree with it.

        I felt that Clinton shouldn’t have been moved to be impeached on that stupid question when he was under oath.

        I don’t feel that drug laws should be applied as they as it would be to severe. A lot of cops and judges agree, and many follow suit.

        Even the judge doesn’t like his own ruling in this matter. That’s really telling on the matter.

        If Adam Vaughan asks for a donation for his personal charity walking down the hall or using his city issued blackberry by email, I don’t want some judge throwing him out of council. It’s stupid.

        And It is about revenge. Look at the person who filed the complaint originally. Look at how everyone is celebrating with such disturbing comments on such a dangerous precedent on this matter: An unelected official has removed from office a mayor of a city, one of the most important cities in Toronto.

        I can’t even stand Ford’s politics. I don’t know if he feels he’s above the law, and I could care less how he feels. I’m not shedding tears for the man.

        I do know that, yes, his behavior should have caused other arrests. His driving down the highway while reading should have been an arrest when he admitted he did it (he put lives in danger driving the equivalent of a football field while blind, and confirmed it with a public statement).

        But on this specific issue? I feel we should rise above this. There is no other option, based on ethics we all hold dear. I understand why people are reacting this way. I just can’t agree with it.

        • Anonymous

          Rob Ford testified in court that he did not read the code of ethics, did not agree on the legal definition of “conflict of interest”, and that it did not apply to him anyway, because he was ‘doing it for the kids’ (taking money from city lobbyists for his pet charity project). This is someone who clearly feels he is above the law, and he doesn’t care who knows it. Not his elected colleagues who are all subject to the same laws, not the citizens of this city, and not even the judge who was legally bound to rule on the matter. Rob Ford was in way over his head as mayor of a large city. He is an affable bumpkin, with apparently some talent as a high school football coach, and none as a municipal politician. The judge did him, and everyone in this city a kindness. He may not feel that way but, in the end, how he feels about it does not matter.

        • kidcarter

          The judge didn’t agree with the law or with his own ruling

          Whether anyone thinks it’s conflict of interest, it’s certainly not proportional and sets a dangerous precedent which most acknowledge.

          How he feels? Who cares.

          Yes, I don’t think he’s really qualified to be mayor, and he does appear inept. I feel in the elected process, he would have lost. We might not know now since our democratic rights were taken away.

          But again, what is with bullying and hate? Calling someone a bumpkin is a pejorative towards those from rural areas. I know emotions run high, but I would have hoped Toronto would rise above this. Always smashing unions, ready to crush those that don’t fit in on technicalities, hatred towards those they feel are mentally inferior…it’s a cold city indeed.

          • Anonymous

            Bullying and hate? Sorry, I don’t understand what you are talking about. Do you mean in the comments on this Torontoist story, or on the internet in general?

    • vampchick21

      Ummmm…he got removed from office for speaking and voting on an issue that had financial benefit for him, hence conflict of interest. Why is that so hard to grasp?

    • tig

      No, sorry. I am reading and replying to this during my lunch break. The only time I go online and do anything personal at work. P.S. I do work for a unionized company.

    • Anonymous

      I wish you had some idea of what you were talking about.

    • Kenneth Butland

      I read on my breaks. I also legitimately volunteer for causes I care about when I’m NOT supposed to be at work. That’s how actual volunteering is done. Funny how an apologist for Ford’s behaviour, a man who pathologically votes to nix funding on wide variety of volunteer-based social causes, seems unaware of that.

    • qwerty1

      “And the number of individuals ready to ruin a career on this matter is disgusting.”

      If this isn’t the reasoning that precisely encapsulates Rob Ford’s problem then I don’t know what is? Rob Ford, a public figure, knowingly and willfully, very publicly, put himself in a clear cut conflict of interest situation is not responsible for putting himself in a conflict of interest. Other people are responsible for his actions by pursuing the matter legally. Rob Ford is blameless, guiltless and not responsible for his actions.

      Also, suggesting practical equivalence between someone using work resources inappropriately, and the Mayor of a city of 2.6 million people publicly showing contempt for the rules of procedure is absolutely laughable. There is 0 practical equivalence between the two things. 1) Using a company phone for personal use is not even remotely close to being the same as using the power of the Office of the Mayor and the name of the City for personal use. If fail to understand this you fail to have any comprehension of the purpose of conflict of interest rules. 2) He’s the Mayor. Not some functionary schmoe like the vast majority of us. Leaders ARE and SHOULD BE held to higher standards. If the Mayor isn’t prepared to be held to the high ethical standards that should be applied to public figures then he should not be mayor.

  • John Timmons

    what bothers me is Pro-Ford comments are censored…only Ford trashers have their say

    • Anonymous

      We haven’t removed any comments from this post, though it is possible some got caught up in our automated spam filters. Let us know if you left a comment that isn’t showing up.

  • Ken McCartney

    Ain’t that a kick in the balls?

  • Mack

    A really well written article Steve. Love the closing paragraph. So very true.