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Stu Cowan: Secrecy over Kavis Reed firing paints Alouettes in bad light

You really have to wonder if Kavis Reed is being made a scapegoat for the Alouettes’ off-field problems.

Patrick Boivin, the Alouettes’ president and CEO, refused to make clear the reasons why he suddenly fired Reed as general manager Sunday morning, which has led to much speculation and severely damaged Reed’s reputation. Boivin did say Sunday his decision had nothing to do with the team’s performance on the field, adding: “It would be inappropriate to start getting into specifics of what that (reason) is” and “to start commenting on the details could also potentially expose us at the legal level.”

Boivin was pushed by reporters for more details, but wouldn’t provide any.

Didier Orméjuste and former Alouette Matthieu Proulx, who both cover the Alouettes for RDS, reported on Twitter that their sources said Reed had devised a system to circumvent the CFL salary cap. Orméjuste added his sources said Reed was charging the club for personal expenses, such as plane tickets.

If Reed was indeed circumventing the CFL salary cap and that’s a reason he was fired, you have to figure Boivin knew what his GM was doing and you also have to wonder how long this was going on. If Boivin didn’t know what was going on as president and CEO of the team, that’s even worse. By leaving so much open to speculation about the firing, Boivin seems to have thrown Reed under the team bus.

Montreal Gazette colleague Herb Zurkowsky tweeted Tuesday that sources told him it was the CFL’s decision to fire Reed, not Boivin’s.

There have been reports the Alouettes have lost $50 million since Robert Wetenhall purchased the club in 1997, including $12.5 million last season. The CFL took over control of the club before the start of this season and is negotiating exclusively with Peter and Jeffrey Lenkov about purchasing the team. In a league with a $5.2-million salary cap and a lucrative TV deal with TSN, it’s hard to imagine how a team can lose $12.5 million in one year.

It appears Reed’s firing might be a situation in which the CFL is cleaning house before new owners take over. To fire Reed because he had a 10-30 record as GM is one thing, but the way it was done opens up an ugly can or worms for the Alouettes and the CFL.

“The way this has been handled by the Alouettes is absolutely the most unprofessional termination of a senior leader in the league I’ve ever witnessed,” a CFL source who has worked with Reed told Zurkowsky. “I’m so disturbed about people trying to paint Kavis as a bad person. Even if they want to question decisions made as a GM, that’s fine. But don’t attack his character. He’s a good man trying to do a difficult job — cleaning up someone else’s mess — under challenging circumstances. He doesn’t deserve this treatment.”

The Alouettes, who have won their last two games to improve their record to 2-2, practised Tuesday for the first time since Reed was fired as they prepare to face the Edmonton Eskimos Saturday at Molson Stadium (4 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).

Defensive-end John Bowman, in his 14th season with the Alouettes, called Reed’s firing “unfortunate.”

“He’s a good dude,” Bowman said about Reed. “He treated me with respect. I don’t know how they came to that decision. But, like (former Alouettes head coach Marc) Trestman used to tell me many years ago: Football doesn’t love anybody, so you’ve just got to go about it, practise and play hard, and try to treat everything as normal.”

This season has been anything but normal for the Alouettes, with the ownership situation, the firing of head coach Mike Sherman after training camp concluded, and then the secrecy surrounding Reed’s firing.

Bowman was asked if he had noticed anything unusual about any of his teammates’ contracts that might not have been within the salary-cap rules.

“I don’t discuss people’s contracts,” he said. “That’s not my profession. But I can say this: There’s a lot of things done differently around the CFL. … I haven’t heard anything — but I can tell you I’ve seen two, three GMs and I know from other players I’ve played with that everybody tries to do a little something extra.

“I don’t know why (Reed) was fired,” Bowman added. “I love him. He’s one of the reasons why I’m still here because a couple of years ago some people wanted me gone and he stuck his neck out for me. He’s nothing but a true professional in my eyes, so we’ll see.”

As for the beating Reed’s reputation has taken, Bowman said: “I don’t think it’s fair at all. Until you know exactly what was out there and was said and what was the reason behind this firing, I think we should all reserve our opinions.”

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

Source: montrealgazette.com




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