Toronto Mayor Rob Ford missed more than two hours of Thursday’s council meeting to coach his high school football team, the Don Bosco Eagles, in an afternoon semifinal game — after which the players were shuttled back to Don Bosco in a private TTC bus. Ford spoke to reporters in the council chamber after his return; the Star joined the exchange in progress. A transcript:
Ford: You know what? If I wasn’t there, it could’ve have gotten really ugly. I think you should talk to the school board or the police. I controlled my team. Very few people can control these kids.
Q: Did you call the police?
Ford: No. No. The police were there.
Q: Who called the bus?
Ford: The five people —
Q: Mayor Ford, who called for the bus?
Ford: The police did.
Q: The police did?
Q: Did you have any role in asking for the bus?
Ford: They were there, and they did a good job. That’s exactly what happened. We had to get out of their field. And the police made that call.
Q: Why did you decide, again, to miss a few hours of a council meeting for a football game?
Ford: I only missed two hours. A semifinal football game. It’s the playoffs. We’re undefeated. We’re number two in the city. We’re in the championship game. If I’m (not there), what are we going to do, just forfeit the game? These kids live — this is their education that rides on these games.
Q: Why would the game not have been able to go ahead without you there?
Ford: You can’t — [laughs] — so you don’t have a head coach, you’re going to play a game? That wasn’t even on our field? Was on their field?
Q: There aren’t other, assistant coaches who could fill in?
Ford: No, they can’t be a head coach, it’s impossible.
Q: So the game would’ve been forfeited if you hadn’t been there?
Ford: You don’t take any exception. If I got hit by a car, obviously someone would have to do it. As head coach, it’s (the) irresponsible thing to do, and if I wasn’t there, things would have got out of hand. I think you should talk to the police about that.
Q: Shouldn’t you be here? It’s a council meeting, you’re the mayor of Toronto.
Ford: I was here. I was here, you’re absolutely right. I made a commitment. And I’m not a quitter. I made a commitment; I commit to things. Maybe you guys have a different way of doing things, but I don’t.
Q: But when your coaching responsibilities and your mayoral —
Ford: My coaching responsibilities — I’ve said this from day one: I’ve made a commitment, I’ve done it for 20 years, and I’m not changing. Thank you.
Published inCurrent Events