Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bombers social media backlash (Mack-lash?)

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Fans abuzz with calls

for change at the top

YOU know you've got a problem when even the winner of a $100,000 Blue Bombers lottery is calling for the head of the team's general manager.

Winnipeg's dismal 52-0 Labour Day Classic loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders sparked a wave of online criticism levelled at GM Joe Mack and driven by social media. For starters, a Facebook petition calling for Mack's firing had garnered nearly 4,000 likes Tuesday afternoon. (Sample post: a poll asking fans what chant to start at the "Ban-Joe Bowl" had "Sack Joe Mack" in a healthy lead Tuesday.) Mack's listing on the Bombers' Wikipedia page was temporarily vandalized Monday, and #firemack trended locally on Twitter after the big loss.

Some fans pledged action beyond online snarking: Bradley Gillies said he won't buy any more Bombers tickets or merchandise until Mack makes an exit.

"I think they should've fired Joe Mack, and I think they should've kept Paul LaPolice," said Mike Stratychuk, who, just a few months ago was the first winner of the Bombers' $100,000 scratch 'n' win lottery.

Now, Stratychuk plans to dress in black at the upcoming Banjo Bowl -- his brother coined Stratychuk's "Fire Mack, wear black" tweet tagline -- and wants others to do the same. "Why black? Because it's a disapproving colour," he said.

Social-media chatter on Twitter...

bigdealieo: #bombers banjo bowl boycott. If the team won't show up for games, why should we? Let 'em play in an empty stadium. Let's make a stand!

bradleygillies: Social media is all well & good, but this protest needs to start with the wallet. I won't spend another dime on Bombers until they #sackMack

mikestratychuk: Everybody wear black at the Banjo Bowl and we'll call it "FIRE MACK WEAR BLACK"

rjpangman: I guess I won't be renewing my season tickets @Wpg_BlueBombers I won't be the only one. #firejoemack #sackMack

On Wikipedia...

Anyone who perused the Wikipedia entry for the Bombers Monday night would have seen, under the general managers section, Joe Mack's tenure as "2010-SOON TO BE FIRED." The vandalized entry was left up overnight, was revised to "2010-SOON TO BE TERMINATED" early Tuesday, and was swapped back to "2010-present" by around 5 a.m.

On Facebook on the Fire Joe Mack petition...

Chris Van Driel: I suggest we all stay home for the Banjo Bowl That will get their attention! We can't have repeated sellouts, it's rewarding sh***** play and management!!!!

-- compiled by Lindsey Wiebe

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 5, 2012 A6

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