Shivers in BC for the Rider game

I know he works for BC, but is this just a meir coincedense?

Shivers shows up hoping for taste of revenge
Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, September 12, 2008
Roy Shivers believes there is a Supreme Being, and he's pretty sure it's not Eric Tillman.

Shivers lost his job to Tillman two years ago when he was fired by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who in 1999 had made Shivers the first black general manager in the Canadian Football League.

Hired last December by the B.C. Lions to look after player personnel for coach and GM Wally Buono, his old friend, Shivers has come to Vancouver from his home office in Las Vegas to attend his first game this season.

View Larger Image
Roy Shivers holds court on the sidelines at afternoon practice.
Rick Collins/ Special to the Sun

Email to a friend

Printer friendly
Font:****And, hey, what do you know? It's against the Roughriders on Saturday at B.C. Place. The Lions visit Saskatchewan a week later, and Shivers plans to see that game, too.

Nothing personal, of course. Shivers says he has moved on, put the Roughriders behind him.

Sure, he has. Just like he has moved on from from a lifelong quest for social justice and equal rights.

Shivers, about the fittest-looking 67-year-old you are going to see - and certainly the only one you'll see in skullcap and braids rumbling into the Lions' compound in Surrey in a diesel pickup the size and colour of a fire engine - admits he is a product of his upbringing.

That upbringing occurred in the 1940s and '50s in Oakland, where his father had taken his family from Arkansas to escape segregation and where Roy Shivers' friends included Black Panther Party founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.

Shivers and several teammates from the St. Louis Cardinals protested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He and his wife actively support U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama, for whom Carole Shivers was a delegate at the Democrats' convention last month in Denver.

So Roy Shivers is out there, outspoken and unapologetic about it.

"I've always tried to be socially conscious," he said Thursday, standing on the Lions' practice field during a break in the procession towards him that began with Buono. "That was my mindset, the people I grew up around, people I was brought up with. We understood a lot of stuff that had gone on in America. It wasn't always Utopia. It wasn't close to this in the '40s and '50s.

"I think if I wasn't so outspoken, it might have been different [in Saskatchewan]."

"I'm not the one to shrink back and not express my opinions. If you don't like that, so be it. But don't take it out on me simply because I'm another colour persuasion."

In truth, Shivers was probably too "out there" for Regina, which might be the least ethnically diverse city in Canada.

He hired a black coach in Danny Barrett and acquired and stuck with a black quarterback in Nealon Greene.

"People questioned me: 'Why did you hire Danny Barrett?'" Shivers said. "I question why they questioned me. Nobody questioned Vince Lombardi and Don Shula and those guys why they never hired a black coach."

When Saskatchewan players Kenton Keith and Trevis Smith broke the law, Shivers was somehow blamed by some fans for not controlling them or implementing a code of conduct.

The Roughriders' progress on the field, through impressive initially, stalled at .500 during Shivers' final three seasons. The general manager balked at a restructuring of power within the organization, and said he couldn't work for team president Jim Hopson "because I dislike him and I don't trust him."

Halfway through the 2006 season, with the Riders 4-5, the board of directors fired Shivers, then quickly hired Tillman.

Tillman won Grey Cups as general manager of the Lions in 1994 and Toronto Argonauts in 1997, and in his first full season in charge of the Riders guided them to Saskatchewan's first Grey Cup in 18 years.

"I didn't see the game," Shivers insisted. "I think I was out of the country when the Grey Cup was on. I'm happy they won the Grey Cup. I wish I'd have been there, but I've moved on. I knew there were some forces that were behind the scenes [in Regina] working stuff.

"I wasn't beaten up because I wasn't going to take any beatings. When I left, I was as defiant as when I came. Unbowed.

"The only thing that was hard for me to accept was I knew we were right on the cusp of being a good football team. They just had to get over that last hurdle and that's what they did."

Asked if he thought Tillman among the forces who worked for his dismissal, Shivers said: "Probably. He's good at that from what I understand. I really don't care. That's in the past."

Shivers thought his career was in the past, too.

For the first time in 35 years, he was out of football during the 2007 season. He said he spent it travelling with Carole, playing with his grandchildren and walking his dog.

And he was content to keep doing that until Buono phoned in December and asked if Shivers would take the Lions' personnel job vacated by Bob O'Billovich, who became the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' general manager.

Shivers had one condition: that he be allowed to work from home in Henderson, Nev., as he did when he fulfilled the same role for Buono and the Calgary Stampeders in the 1990s.

"My wife told me if I ever leave again, that's it," Shivers said. He and Carole have been married for 42 years. For what it's worth, she's white.

Buono recalled Thursday that when he got his start in management, as the personnel director for the Stampeders in 1988, Shivers, then doing the same job for the Lions, told Buono to call him if he needed any help.

"You don't forget those things," Buono said.

Their friendship seems to bridge disparate identities. Buono is the son of white, Italian immigrants to Canada, a Catholic whose political views might lean towards conservatism. Shivers is the black activist born in the Deep South, the liberal who believes in God but has a lot of questions about Him and those who claim to act in His name.

"You know, Roy and I are not that different," Buono said. "Grew up the hard way. Loyal to family, loyal to friends. We're principled. We have conviction, compassion. At the end of the day, what values he has, I have. He's just a little more outspoken than I am."

Is he tryingto upset the riders chemistry? We know he will be out there kibitsing with his former players.

It doesn't take much to make a news article these days.......

Wait! I think I heard someone say that someone's cousin was talking to her best freind's brother who once drank a beer in the same bar that Bobby Jurasin was once in and the next day, it smelled like someone farted!!!!! :smiley:

Were we right on the cusp of becoming a good football team? I’m not sure according to Shivers we were. I think the players needed a coach and a GM that won’t take any BS and make it clear that losing is not an option. Barrett and Shivers didn’t do that, Tillman and Austin/Miller did, and look where we are now compared to where we were then.

Shivers who? Does anyone really care if he is there?

Tou know what cusp means right? We went to the west final in 2006, and won in 2007. Pretty much by definition, that was a team on the cusp.

Riders won 11 games in 2003. Then Riders did this. 9 and 9 for 3 straight years. 9 is less than 11. Riders might have been on cusp of this Arius. A losing season.

tillman responds

"I had as much to do with Roy Shivers' departure as I did Abraham Lincoln's assassination," Tillman, the Roughriders' general manager, said on the phone Friday. "In seven years, Roy's teams had one winning season, no home playoff games, no Grey Cup appearances and, of course, zero championships. That's undeniable

[url=] ... a2f45928dc[/url]

Meh, I think it's been obvious for a long time Eric and Roy don't like each other, but it will have no effect on the game on Saturday.

Shivers thinks that Tillman conspired to have him fired, but that is total paranioa on his part. As I said on the main forum , its a questionable part of the interview, the other one being about his wife. Who cares what colour she is?

Shivers made Riders good after they were bad. Real bad. Tillman has done a great job. I wish Shivers would shut up. Same for ET. Shut up. The Riders won the Grey Cup with Austin and Tillman. They are 8 and 2 with Miller and Tillman. ET hired 2 good head coaches. Shivers hired Barrett. Ok coach at best. When Shivers goes after ET it makes Shivers look bad. Tillman doesnt have to say anything. His record says enough. Just beat the Lions and shut up. That will say it all.

Shivers doesn’t realize that he got an easy ride from Saskatchewan. He can’t see it because his problem is that he thinks racists are lurking behind every door.

Would Edmonton wait so patiently for seven years for a Grey Cup or even a home playoff game? Doubt it. He thinks we’re racist for expecting results. Personally I think it would have been racist if we expected nothing better than mediocrity from both of them.

If we’re racist, then why did we hire him? We hired the first black GM and first black coach in the CFL. The first to do both at the same time in North America (in any pro sport). If the board of directors was loaded with racists like Shivers thinks, then he wouldn’t have been hired, yet alone be allowed to hire Danny Barrett.

He calls us racist for questioning his hiring of Barrett. I guess it had nothing to do with Barrett’s limited coaching experience. After all, he only had three years as a quarterbacks coach/assistant and one of those years he was pulled out of retirement to be a backup QB.

Sure, we’re a bunch of racists for questioning his judgment. But we did the same thing here when Tillman (the whitest of white guys) hired Austin (another white guy). And Kent had more experience (3-half yrs as a QB coach/offensive coordinator). We questioned it. Tillman was right though.

We also take a shot from the writer for expecting Shivers to control the players conduct. Well why shouldn’t we? NFL teams have rules of conduct and Tillman hasn’t had any problems implementing one. Have you seen our guys during the national anthem?

What it all comes down to is that other than his wife, Shivers can’t stand being around white people. That’s why he insists on working in Nevada. It’s just too white up here in Canada for his tastes.

the reaction to that article is more interesting than the article itself.

Shivers and Barrett were black when they got hired. It didnt matter then. Why did it matter when Shivers got fired? I wanted him to win. You wanted him to win. Every Rider fan I know wanted him to win. It was close but it didnt happen. Last 3 years were 9 and 9. Matthews won with less money for players. Jauch did to. And Daly got us to the cup with less money. Shivers and Barrett had more and did more. Built a good Rider team. But 7 years is a long time not to finish 1st or 2nd 1 time. That is why Shivers got fired. Not because he was black.

The fact is, there are plenty of Rider fans in this province who did not want Roy and Danny to succeed because they were black. And it is naive to believe it was not an issue. Was he fired because he was black? No. But plenty of people were happy to see him go because he was black. And we get plenty of that attitude on these forums, thinly disguised though it might be. The attitudes and comments from people about Roy, the out right hatred some express are difficult to explain without at least contemplating the possibility that they are racially motivated. And considering we live in a rather racist society, why would one not contemplate that possibility?

OK… let me put this as clearly as I can…

I wanted Roy and Danny to succeed, and they were doing not bad until after the 2004 season, then things started to go downhill after that, the team was seemingly on a treadmill, going basically .500 and spinning its wheels. Roy was fired basically because the team was not going to the next level, among other factors. I won’t get into those, because it will just start another round of pointless arguments.

Arius some people did want Shivers to fail. Your are right. But I know some people who wanted Austin to fail. But not because of colour. You say some people are racist. I agree with you. But I dont know anyone who talked about race more than Roy Shivers. Shivers is black. I dont care. ET is white. I dont care. The Riders winning. That is what I care about.

People always have their motivations. You are likely right. Some people wanted Austin to fail. Why, is their problem, not mine. But when people are motivated by prejudice and bigotry, it is my problem. And yours. And Roy's. And when a guy like Roy talks about these issues, it makes people uncomfortable. And that is exactly why he talks about them--to make people feel uncomfortable. That is what social activism is all about. And when people dismiss the views of someone like Roy, a man who has spent his entire life in the trenches, fighting for what he believes in, I grow suspicious of those people.

Arius you are smart. You are right to about Shivers and how he wanted to change things that happened in US history. Do you think maybe this could be part of this. He doesnt like Tillman because he is from Mississippi?

If Tillman had said he was going to hire a white coach only. Would that have been racist? Shivers told us at practice he had to hire a black coach. Said it was about changing history.

I don't think Roy is just concerned about US history. There is a reason why the KKK once found very fertile ground in Sasakatchewan to plant their evil seeds.....

As for Roy and ET... two arrogant pricks that don't like each other? Not much of a surprise there, really. Is it possible that Roy makes assumptions about ET based on him being from Mississippi? Certainly in the realm of possibility. No doubt ET's understanding of race and that of Roy's are coming from two different viewpoints. I think ET and Roy were informed about race in very different circumstances, and ET's comments about his father being threatened by the Klan were very interesting. A tad naive if he is comparing being a white man in the south to the life any black man lived, but obviously, ET has strong views on the topic. Just to clarify, being placed on a death list tells us something about the character of his father. Being black in the 50s and 60s in the south meant you didn't need to be singled out for some death list--you were born to it. A bit of a difference there.

Without spending too long going into affirmative action, the answer is yes, if ET said he was only going to hire a white coach, that would have been racist. Roy was 100% on solid ground in doing what he did, saying what he said.
The fact is, the old boys club of pro sports being what it is, they don't say they will only hire a white coach, but we all know, most of the time it is true. I am in noway saying this about ET---I have no idea on that.