A day after Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Joe Mack addressed the media regarding the team's poor performance this season, former Bomber and current TSN Radio 1290 morning host Troy Westwood voiced his displeasure with Mack's comments.
The Bombers lost 52-0 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday, dropping their record to 2-7 on the year, which had many fans calling for Mack to be fired. When he spoke to the media on Wednesday, Mack discussed some of the issues that the club has dealt with this season.
"We've had a fairly rough year for the psyche of the team," said Mack. "Obviously as everyone knows, it's been well documented I think it started with the death of coach Richard Harris. I knew that would have a big impact on our players. As I reflect back on a number of different things that occurred, I think it had a much bigger effect on the psyche of the team than I even realized."
Westwood, who played for Harris prior to his passing, was outraged that Mack would use that as an excuse for the team's record this season.
"Coach Harris, rest his wonderful soul, passed away July 26, 2011. The Bombers won four [straight] games after the passing of coach Harris and they played with tenacity and great spirit to honour the life of one Coach Harris," stated Westwood. "Don't tell me 13 months after the man's passing that this still somehow reflects negatively.
"The cancer that exists in the locker room right now doesn't have to do with the passing and loss of Coach Harris. It's much more deep seeded than that and it was a ridiculous, horrendous and disgusting crutch for [Mack] to throw under his armpit and talk about."
Westwood also took exception to Mack opening the press conference with an attempt at humour.
"First I'd like to thank everybody for coming out to the bi-weekly Joe Mack fan appreciation day. Milk and cookies will be served afterwards," said Mack.
After listening to the press conference five times, Westwood was surprised at Mack's choice to begin with a joke.
"How detached is [Mack] from the temperature of this community, city and fanbase to come out and his opening statement, you haven't said a word to the media or the fans since suffering one of the most catastrophic loses in Blue Bomber history, and you come out with [that as an] opening statement," said Westwood on Thursday.
"You have to come out with something sincere right off the top because people are on edge in this city. People that support this team, they are on edge, Joe," explained Westwood. "We don't want to hear jokes Joe, we want to hear something insightful, something honest and truthful from you."
The Blue Bombers will be back in action on Sunday as they host the Roughriders in the Banjo Bowl (TSN, 1pm et/10am pt).