Coach hangs up on Blue fans
What? Kelly will no longer accept telephone calls on his radio show
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/08/2009 (4730 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Wanna talk to Blue Bombers head coach Mike Kelly? The good news is you’re going to save minutes on your cell bill, but the bad news is it’s going to cost you a little more in gas money.
Kelly says the fractious relationship between himself and some callers on his radio show has led him to the decision that if Winnipeggers want to interact with him, they’ll have to do it in person and not over the phone.
Kelly told the media on Sunday morning that he would no longer take phone calls on The Mike Kelly Show, which airs every Monday during the regular season on CJOB from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"I’m not going to do it. It’s counterproductive. I just don’t feel there’s a positive aspect for anybody involved. It’s a vocal minority that calls in, and when we lose or don’t play particularly well, there’s just too many personal attacks, whether they’re at me or at a player or whatever it might be," stated Kelly. "And when we win, obviously compliments are appreciated, but then it goes overboard that way, too. If you want to come to the Upperdeck Sports Bar, which is a great venue, you can ask questions there face to face rather than having phone muscles, or you can go ahead and email them and we’ll take the questions that we want there. I just didn’t see where it was serving anyone’s purpose on either side to have the call-ins and get into some of the things that we got into."
Kelly has had fans call in and berate him and he’s had some caustic replies. "I’m glad your mother put a phone line in the basement," and "Next time I’m at McDonalds, I’ll let you shake the salt on my fries," roughly paraphrase a pair of the coach’s quotes that have left tongues wagging in the city.
"If I was in Philadelphia they’d love it. There wouldn’t even be an issue. I just don’t understand why somebody thinks that they can come and attack me and I’m not going to attack them back. That’s just how I was raised," reasoned Kelly. "In Philadelphia and Chicago, that’s how you live. That’s how you grow up. It’s a give and take. Here, if I give it back, everybody flips out. ‘Oh, he can’t say that.’ Well, yeah, I can say that. If you’re going to come at me, then I’m going to come at you."
Having people come to the show on location to ask their questions will eliminate a lot of the inflammatory remarks, said Kelly.
"If you think you can stand up and ask a question, then stand up and ask a question, but don’t hide behind a computer or a phone and act like you’re a big guy," said the first-year Bombers coach.
Kelly says he’s not hiding from the public scrutiny that comes along with being a professional coach.
"I’m not afraid to give answers, but saying that we all should be fired right away? We have families to support, too. I’ve got my daughters (who were born in Winnipeg) listening in Philadelphia on the computer, and they phone me up afterwards and say, ‘Dad, what’s wrong with these people?’ I say, ‘You’re from this town. You tell me.’ I believe it’s a vocal minority, and why give them a bigger platform than they need?" asked Kelly.
The Bombers are a community owned team, but Kelly says he answers to Lyle Bauer and not the public.
"I’ve never seen your name or your name or your name on my paycheque. I think we get a little bit overboard with that thing," Kelly told media members. "The people in town, the community ownership, they’re not the ones that are ultimately going to make the determination on what my employment is or anybody else in this building.
"To me, a boss is someone who has that type of authority and power," Kelly said. "These are passionate fans that I believe in. I’m in their group. I’m probably overly passionate about the Blue Bombers. It’s why I wanted to come back, it’s why I wanted to be here. But why let a vocal minority dictate the message? We’re going to control the message, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be in pro sport."
Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer says the club has had discussions with CJOB about changing the format for some time.
"We talked about this when Doug Berry was the coach. It is the ‘coach’s show,’ and not just a call-in show," said Bauer. "There will still be questions from the floor and via email. We’ve talked about changing the format for a few years and this was supposed to happen earlier than this."
Bauer said the change in format will keep fans from maligning the coach and Kelly from demeaning fans.
"This will avoid confrontation from people on the phone," said Bauer. "And it will prevent reaction (from Kelly). There will be real answers to real questions without provocation."
The program, in one form or another and with a series of coaches, has aired on CJOB for over 30 years and has always afforded fans an opportunity to interact with the coach.
"Some traditions need to be broken," said Kelly.
CJOB sports director Bob Irving, the CFL Hall of Fame broadcaster who handles the team’s play-by-play and also hosts the Mike Kelly Show, had this to say on the subject.
"The football club wants to remove the phone-in component of the radio show and in the spirit of co-operation, CJOB has agreed," said Irving. "Although, we regret that Bombers fans will no longer be able to interact via the telephone with coach Kelly."
‘You don’t sign cheques’
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a community-owned CFL franchise. Coach Mike Kelly no longer wants to take phone calls on his radio show and had this to say about the ownership-coach relationship in Winnipeg.
"I’ve never seen your name or your name or your name on my paycheque. I think we get a little bit overboard with that thing," said Kelly. "The people in town, the community ownership, they’re not the ones that are ultimately going to make the determination on what my employment is or anybody else in this building. To me, a boss is someone who has that type of authority and power. These are passionate fans that I believe in. I’m in their group. I’m probably overly passionate about the Blue Bombers. It’s why I wanted to come back, it’s why I wanted to be here. But why let a vocal minority dictate the message? We’re going to control the message, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be in pro sport."
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