Goodbye, Tom Wright**

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It is almost typical of Tom Wright's short and undefined time as commissioner of the Canadian Football League that as he arrives here for his final Grey Cup week there is a controversy elsewhere.

This is, after all, the CFL. There is always something brewing.

Last year, it was all about quarterback Jason Maas, and which team he belonged to, and a wink-wink, nudge-nudge deal between Edmonton and Hamilton that made him and the league both look bad.

This year, it has nothing to do with Grey Cup and everything with sour grapes. Argos receiver Arland Bruce didn't lose well on Sunday, didn't recover well on Monday, and made himself, not the league, look bad in the process.

Welcome to the final days of Tom Wright's football world. As commissioner of a league that never has wanted a commissioner, he seemed the perfect combination of wishy and washy. He did enough good things to warrant a contract extension -- remember how dead the Toronto and Hamilton franchises were when he took office -- and enough not so good things (see the Gliebermans) to warrant dismissal.

The CFL is not a democracy, never has been. If it was, Wright would be coming back for a fifth season because he had support of the majority.

He just didn't have the support of the right majority.

He knew it, didn't necessarily like the process, and took his firing/resignation/dismissal in the same manner he dealt with almost everything to do with the league. Quietly and with dignity.

"I have mixed feelings," Wright said, a few days before he will make his annual and final state of the CFL address. "I feel like I'm a far better person for the experience. I know my country better. I've developed lifelong friends. My family knows the country better. I feel like a lot has been accomplished."

There are no crises in Tom Wright's CFL. No major ones anyhow. If anything, that is some kind of legacy. No team is going broke. No franchise is living on borrowed time. There are no more questions of survival.

The controversies are actually about football. Stuff like officiating. Rules. Refreshing isn't it?

"I got to share this job with my family, that was the best part," Wright said. "It's different when you sit down to watch television with your youngest daughter under your arm and she says 'Daddy, there's your name. Daddy, why are they going to fire you?' ... You think about that, it actually makes your family closer."

So did singing the national anthem at a game with his oldest daughter, Emily, something you don't see Gary Bettman doing every day.

"It's funny how it happened. We were at a game in Ottawa and the game day operator was panicking because he couldn't find the anthem singer," Wright said. "I told him to go to Plan B. He said he didn't have a Plan B. I looked at Randy Gilles (the owner) and said "If you have a problem, I'll do it."

"He said this is no time for jokes. Well, just before the game the anthem singer did show up but I was all ready to do it. So Randy said, "Would you do our opening season anthem next year? And I said "On one condition. I get to do it with my daughter.

"We did it, in both languages and I was scared to death. But that's something we'll have to share for the rest of our lives."


You talk to Wright and you know he's a good, decent man. A family man. A businessman who cares deeply about the CFL.

If someone like Wright can't please the David Braleys of the CFL world, the questions is: Who can?

Later this week, Wright will talk about the future of the CFL, about the possibility of a return to Ottawa, about plans for actually drug-testing players, about the incoming salary cap program, about the new television deals that need to be negotiated, about a Grey Cup actually coming to Toronto, not once but twice.

It makes you wonder why he's leaving at all,

"I can't take it personally," Wright said. "I don't get angry. I think that maybe is one of my weaknesses. I know what my strengths are and I know what weaknesses are and I'm comfortable with who I am.

"I don't need to look back at four years on the job to define who I am. I feel good about what we've accomplished. I had no illusions coming in, no illusions now. In some ways, the CFL is a microcosm of our country. It's not easy to get the provinces on side."

And what would he like to be remembered for, if he is to be remembered at all?

"I tried to be a commissioner for the fans," he said. "They own the game. I've never forgotten that."

Thanks for the article Drummer.

Of all the decisions the BOG made, this decision to not renew Tom Wrights contract baffles me.

Any word on a succesor yet? Is Braley going to appoint himself interim commisioner again?

Again ...Great Article :thup:

It sums things up nicely! If the fans had their way about it...He would still be Our Commisioner! :thup: :thup:

His dismissal is such a mystery to me.

Best of luck Tom.

Nice guy, great guy but not sure he is the right guy for this league if he can't get along with the big power brokers of the league. If he couldn't see their side, then he is not the man for the job.