Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

S (for Sin) City strippers waiting for 'rain man'

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It wasn't raining Tuesday, not a drop, but Robin Skolnik was gleefully anticipating some precipitation in her future.And Skolnik had a message for Pacman Jones, the potential Winnipeg Blue Bomber and patron saint of peeler bars.

"Great! When we're a block away, that's what we like," chirped the owner and operator of the S City (formerly Sin City) Exotic Nightclub, situated just a few punts from the Bombers headquarters. "I'll give you the address for him.

"We'd be more than happy to entertain him in our VIP room."

(For the record, we found out Centerfolds no longer has dancers, leaving Jones with fewer options and owner Bob Fola muttering, "It doesn't mean anything to me anymore, man." Meanwhile, none of the girls working at Teasers yesterday had heard of Pacman Jones, according to Mandy, the bar manager. One of the dancers noted, "I"m 29 years old. Should I know who he is?"

Well, a lot of people do know about Jones, and for all the wrong reasons. Pacman, after all, is the infamous former NFL star known for three things: playing football, playing with fire -- or, more accurately, the law -- and "makin' it rain," the latter referring to Jones' penchant for taking thousands of U.S. dollar bills to strip clubs and letting them fall from the sky.

On one such occasion, bullets eventually flew, too, as a man alleged to be in Jones' entourage pulled out a gun and started firing. One man was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Jones was suspended by the NFL for a year, then signed last season with the Dallas Cowboys, who subsequently suspended him for six games after the defensive back/kick returner got into a scuffle with a security officer hired by the Cowboys to be Jones' minder. In all, Jones has reportedly been arrested six times for various and sundry offences. He's not what you'd call a community member in good standing.

How toxic is Pacman? Well, there alan 18-year-old man.

We're not saying what's right or what's wrong. We're just saying what happened.

If the Bombers, under head coach Mike Kelly, who had nothing to do with the aforementioned players, want to risk signing Jones and giving him an umpteenth chance, they will have to live with the consequences -- for better or worse. They will not be the only team to do so, now and in the future.

This is professional football, folks. There are a few saints, a few felons, and a lot of men somewhere in between. Jones is clearly a problem child, but the Bombers really, really need a return guy. You do the moral math.

So maybe Jones will land in Winnipeg, maybe he won't. It was hard to tell with the gong show on Maroons Road Tuesday. Here's the Cole's Notes version: Bombers player personnel director John Murphy blabs to about signing Jones, only to have president and CEO Lyle Bauer denying the signing. Naturally, the media swarms Bombers headquarters, where the club trots out director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson, who flatly refuses to talk about Jones and then warns the TV crews and scribblers not to ask Kelly specifically about Jones because it's team (and league policy) not to discuss such negotiations.

Oh, really? Maybe they should have mentioned that to Murphy before he talked to that little publication... what's it called again? Oh, yeah, S-P-O-R-T-S I-L-L-U-S-T-R-A-T-E-D!!

Whatever. Murphy got his 15 minutes in the U.S. spotlight for signing a football player no one in the NFL wanted to touch. Congratulations. How's that database with thousands of players on it coming?

But at least Ms. Skolnik is encouraged at the rumours of Pacman's arrival. After all, the current crew of Bombers, she says, are strangers to her establishment.

"They used to be in here a few years ago," Skolnik said, "but I don't see them and I've danced for years. I think they're trying to be well-behaved and not in these types of clubs."

Ah, but if only it would rain.

"Tell him," Skolnik playfully pleaded, "I have twins coming in this week."

Show times are 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. The VIP room awaits.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 2, 2009 C1

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About Randy Turner

While attending Boissevain High School in the late 1970’s, Randy Turner one day read an account of a Winnipeg Jets game in the Free Press when it dawned on him: "Really, you can get paid to watch sports?"

Turner later graduated with a spectacularly mediocre 2.3 GPA from Red River Community College’s Creative Communications program. 

After jobs at the Stonewall Argus and Selkirk Journal, he began working on the Rural page for the Free Press in 1987. Several years later, he realized his dream of watching sports for a living covering the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Bombers.

In 2001, Turner became a general sports columnist, where he watched Canada win its first Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey in 50 years at Salt Lake, then watched them win again in Vancouver in 2010.

He also watched everything from high school hockey and volleyball championship to several Grey Cups, NHL finals and World Junior hockey tournaments.

In the fall of 2011, Turner became a general features writer for the paper. But he still watches way too much sports.

Turner has been nominated for three National Newspaper Awards in sports writing.



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