In my opinion, Eric Tillman is taking an enlightened, fan-friendly approach in periodically making the Rider negotiation list public to Rider fans and it would be nice to see the other CFL GMs eventually follow suit. Now that a salary management system is in place, the rationale for keeping these negotiation lists private has all but evaporated.
By the way, Tillman shared the Rider negotiation list with the public back in April, 2007 and it didn't stop his team from winning the Grey Cup this year. Here is the article by Rob Vanstone titled "Some love thrown my way" which was posted on the leaderpost.com website on April 5, 2007 discussing the release of the list by Tillman a few days earlier:
"Some love thrown my way
Thursday, April 05, 2007
A Wednesday in the life of a rumpled scribe was noteworthy for the succession of cooing e-mails from admirers.
Let the lovefest begin ...
"I am almost at a loss for words as to how you could be so irresponsible, unprofessional and, in reality, use unethical reporting tactics by releasing the Saskatchewan Roughrider negotiation list to the general public,'' wrote an ardent fan named Ryan. "That was a slimeball move by the L-P.''
For the uninitiated, Roughriders general manager Eric Tillman recently posted the CFL team's 35-player negotiation list on its organ, Riderville.com.
We deemed this list to be of interest to our readers. Hence the decision to publish.
"How can you be so blind?'' Ryan continued. "You disgust me, you infuriate me. I have a number of other 'choice' words that I would like to say but I am at a level in society that is much higher than you so I will not resort to name-calling. If you don't understand what I am saying, I offer you profanity.
"I fully expect you to issue a public apology on the front page of the sports section in Thursday's Leader-Post. Although this will not repair the damage it has done to the value of our paid memberships at Riderville, I would like to see you publicly humiliate yourselves in that fashion. It is the least you could do.
"I have also copied this e-mail to the Saskatchewan Roughriders organization. I hope that the Riders remove your Riderville account immediately, Mr. Vanstone. You are not worthy.''
Correct. I screwed up. Big-time.
Despite being a paid member of Riderville.com, I expertly managed to miss Tillman's posting on the Web site. A fellow subscriber e-mailed the list to me. I forwarded it to our football writer, Darrell Davis, who contacted Tillman for the purpose of doing a story on the conventionally confidential list.
The Roughriders' GM was not enamoured with this idea but, to his credit, did provide some insights on some of the key players. The story was published, along with the negotiation list, in Wednesday's paper.
The rationale: This information is likely to be of interest to our readers. Period. End of paragraph.
Some people have accused us of betraying a confidence by publishing the list. The list ceased to be confidential the moment it appeared on Riderville.com, which is easily accessible.
Judging by the vituperative reaction, you would think we had lifted the list from Tillman's desk or hacked into his computer.
"Was it a big scoop to print the Rider neg list in the L-P?'' Troy wondered. "I mean, come on ... You fellows obviously have some sort of insider, if not yourselves, that surfs the Riderville.com forum. If you did, you'd also know that that list was presented to the forum members as a perk for the membership.''
Maybe so, but the information willingly disseminated by Tillman to a cadre of Roughriders fans is of interest to a larger body. We would have been doing the readers a disservice by suppressing publication.
"Before you go on saying that Mr. Tillman perhaps shouldn't be talking (about) this kind of stuff on the site for all to read, you'd also know that he hasn't told us everything,'' Troy wrote.
"Some things are still confidential. However, you guys obviously don't understand that.''
Understand this: You can't be a little bit pregnant. Information cannot be selectively cloaked in confidentiality. It is naive to think otherwise in this electronic age. Mine is but one view.
"I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail giving you my thoughts about the article in today's Leader-Post,'' Jean-Guy commented on Wednesday. "For the past few years I have defended you and the L-P thousands of times on Internet forums but after reading what I did this morning that is now a thing of the past.
"How could you guys at the L-P backstab our new GM as well as every Rider fan who purchases Alliance memberships by posting the neg list that Eric did especially for us subscribers??? That is beyond bush-league journalism.
"Can't you guys get a story yourselves?''
Well, now that you asked ...
Darrell reported with exclusivity March 12 that FieldTurf would soon adorn Taylor Field. That breaking news also appeared on Riderville.com -- 22 days later."