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Protesting the Bills in Toronto


 

Seriously, some guys are planning a protest of tomorrow’s Bills in Toronto pre-season game.

Okay, I’m no big fan of Rogers (the parent company of Maclean’s) latest business venture. I’m not happy that the NFL is coming to Toronto – I don’t think it’s good for the CFL and there’s no chance I’ll be able to afford a ticket.

This said, if Ted Rogers wishes to have a new play toy, so be it.

And what’s so Canadian about the CFL? Okay, among the second-tier American players, there is a requirement for Canadian players to be mixed in.

I’d get all patriotic if the CFL solely consisted of Canadian players.

As long as the tickets are in the hundreds of dollars at the Skydome Rogers Centre, I’ll be watching the CFL anyway.


 
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Protesting the Bills in Toronto

  1. I love the CFL and the NFL – in the US. But Ted and company can do what they want but they looked very small time having the police chase away a few protesters to keep the NFL in the US. What an embarrasement for a big corporate giant like Rogers to do something so anti-democratic as this. I’ve lost a lot of respect for the Rogers people.

  2. This is a posting from one of the protesters at the game. This is sick!

    Rogers Centre Censorship,

    Our anti-NFL protest was a huge success, with about 40 people turning up and lots of media coverage.

    However, it saddened me, as unsurprising as it was, that we were not allowed on to Blue Jays Way, Bremner Street, or anywhere near the Rogers Centre. As soon as we got close, the cops would tell us to get lost or risk arrest. This despite a complete lack of physical or verbal aggression towards anyone around us. We also had a permit which allowed us to protest on the grounds but when we showed the police they replied with a laugh and said, “Well, I’m guessing Ted Rogers’ permit cost a little but more than yours did.”

    Another group of protesters, separate from us were protesting the low wages of concession workers at the dome ($9.25 an hour) were on the verge of arrest 3 times simply from handing out fliers to passers by. Each time, they fleed to avoid arrest.

    The next day at the Argos game a friend of mine was wearing an Anti-Bills t-shirt. Within seconds of entering the Rogers Centre concourse, he was surrounded by security ordering him to remove the shirt or risk expulsion and/or arrest. The shirt had nothing offensive on it, simply a buffalo bills logo with a cross through it, similar to an anti-smoking sign.

    Later I found out that before the game, one of the men leading the Anti-NFL in Toronto movement, Sterling Halliday, was also nearly arrested. He told me that before the game he was surrounded by cops telling him to remove his shirt and that he would certainly be arrested if he was seen distributing an anti-Bills shirt to anyone else. This is not the first time Sterling has encountered issues at Argos’ home games, despite being a season ticket holder. Last game, he was not allowed on stadium property with his t-shirt.. Sterling has a permit from top Argos’ executives that legally allow him to sell the shirts at Argos’ home games. Mr. Halliday only escaped certain arrest by calling Pinball Clemons himself and having him speak to security.

    It seems to be Rogers Centre policy to suppress any message that goes against them or suggests anything they are doing might be bad. In fact, the Anti-Bills shirt have gone from being a common sight in the first couple games (despite being new) to extremely rare, because anyone who wears them risks expulsion or arrest by Rogers Centre security and police.

    I just wished to inform you of this very undemocratic practice that is going on at Rogers Centre, and I hope that you help encourage them to stop this habit of censorship by writing about it in an upcoming paper. As I, and many others see it, it goes against the fundamental principles of democracy and freedom of expression.

  3. I work at Rogers Centre and expressed both my misgivings and warnings to my superiors when I learned we were to arrange the ejection of fans wearing anti-Bills shirts during the last Argo’s game.

    First, I advised that the shirts did not violate any of the posted rules of the facility and, therefore, there were no grounds to eject fans unless they caused a disturbance. Several of my colleagues and police officers agreed. Second, I warned them that such arbitrary restrictions may well leave Rogers Centre liable for a policy that is in direct violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. No private company policy may infringe upon the Charter and, in my opinion, the ant-Bills t-shirt issue infringed upon the rights of fans to express an opinion.

    I, personally, and I suspect a number of my colleagues, won’t be going out of our way to observe or respect the policy.

    As it is, I think the protest is both pointless and doomed to failure, that it’s mere irrational paranoia. I love the CFL and want to see it remain in Toronto and flourish. However, I think Toronto deserves and needs an NFL franchise too. Let’s be honest here, the quality of players is better in the NFL even if the game isn’t as good as its’ Canadian counterpart. I think the two products can both co-exist peacefully.

    If the NFL does come to Toronto permanently, it would have to eventually be presented in a new, football-specific stadium anyway, so the Argo’s don’t have to lose their home and the franchise can continue to be a success. Why CFL fans see only doom and gloom is beyond me. If fans abandon the Argo’s then it means their fan-base isn’t as committed as the hard-core fans thought it was. If the CFL dies, it dies. Everything dies at some time. Forcing something to remain alive by preventing competition is no better than what big corporations do so they can dominate and monopoloize their industries.

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