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Five reactions to Rob Ford’s football scandal: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

The explosive allegations that Rob Ford has been using city resources and staff for the youth football team he coaches have kept Toronto’s columnists busy over the past week. While perusing the rants, accusations and commiserations, we couldn’t help but notice that they nearly all fell into one of five familiar categories: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In other words, the five stages of grief (we’ll leave it to you to decide what they’re grieving: Rob Ford’s persecution, his alleged misdeeds, or the fact that he’s mayor in the first place).


1. Denial: Rob and Doug Ford

As promised, the Ford brothers used their first radio show after a hiatus to launch a verbal attack on the city’s media in general, and the Globe and Mail in particular. Near the end of the show, a caller asked Ford to justify his use of city resources; Doug interrupted him, saying, “No, we haven’t—that’s a lie.” Rob tried to calm his brother down, and responded to the caller: “Okay, but it’s just not true, sir,” he said. “It’s not true. With all due respect, I haven’t been using my office resources. That’s where the misnomer comes in.”


2. Anger: Marcus Gee

The Globe and Mail’s Marcus Gee wrote a scathing response to the brothers on Monday, rebutting their arguments that the controversy is the creation of a pinko cabal, and that the reporters on the story were lazy. He also wrote that the denial was meaningless without evidence: “If the Fords can show that the mayor was not using city staff or resources for his football team, fine, let’s see the proof. If not, they should be more careful about what they say.”


3. Bargaining: Ed Keenan

During his show, Rob called the city’s journalists cowards, and challenged them to ”put your money where your mouth is” by debating him. The Grid’s Ed Keenan accepted the offer, and was even willing to negotiate the details of how the debate would go down:

“I have a great idea: let’s book a hall, and we’ll sell tickets to watch the mayor of Canada’s largest city debate against me, some lowly weekly media columnist used to offering opinions from the gallery. We can donate all the proceeds to the Ford Football Foundation, which I know you’ll agree is a good cause….I will even be happy to let you choose the topic for the debate.”


4. Depression: Sue-Ann Levy

The Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy despaired over the fact that Ford continues to give his opponents fodder. Although she reserved judgement on whether Ford was in the wrong or not, she wrote that he shouldn’t continue to throw “bait” to the “media sharks and his NDP detractors.” She also complained that the media scrutinizes Ford much more closely than they did either David Miller or Mel Lastman.


5. Acceptance: Adrienne Batra

Adrienne Batra, Levy’s colleague at the Sun and Rob Ford’s former press secretary, wrote a column all about the fact that the business of governing the city continues, despite the football controversy. “You may have missed it while yet another mayoralty mishap unfolded last week, but the city’s business miraculously carried on,” she wrote. Do we detect the implication that, since city business is moving on, everyone else should too?

• Mayor Rob Ford, Doug Ford use radio show to fire back at critics in football controversy [Toronto Star]
• Stop denying and show the proof, Mr. Mayor [Globe and Mail]
• Mayor Rob Ford challenges media people to a debate. I accept. [The Grid]
Rob Ford must hold himself to a higher standard [Toronto Sun]
Getting the job done [Toronto Sun]

(Images: Christopher Drost)