Ed Hervey’s explanation for the media access issues during his tenure with the Edmonton Eskimos: they were Jason Maas’ fault. And the media’s.
Hervey was introduced as the Lions general manager on Thursday and the very first question he was asked dealt with media relations during his stint with the Eskimos. Edmonton abruptly closed their locker-room to reporters in 2014, breaking with longstanding tradition, and the CFL fined the team $20,000 and Maas $15,000 after Maas and quarterback Mike Reilly refused to wear live microphones during a game against the Montreal Alouettes.
Local media complained almost constantly about Hervey’s lack of availability on issues big and small and Edmonton CEO Len Rhodes also cited “resistance to provide access” as one of the main reasons for his shocking decision to fire Hervey last April.
But Hervey’s version of events lays much of the blame at Maas’ feet.
“First of all, those are misleading,” Hervey said of allegations that he wasn’t media-friendly. “The locker room has always been the coach’s decision. It will always be the coach’s decision and it was supported by the organization.
“As far as this media market here… guys, I want everyone to understand. I am a very friendly person. I am an introvert. I don’t do a whole lot of talking, I let the coaches and players do the talking. I don’t live for the limelight.
“I’m excited about building winners. That’s what we’re here for. We want more people in the stands. I’m not here to deny anyone access to the players. I never did that, nor will I ever. I don’t deny them access to the coaches. Never did that, or will I ever.”
Hervey did acknowledge, however, that he wasn’t particularly accessible during his time in Edmonton and that was largely by design.
“I just didn’t do a lot of talking because I didn’t want to be the front man for a football team, I just wanted to lay in the weeds and do the work,” Hervey said. “I think that was the misunderstanding for some in Edmonton because they felt that I should give them everything out the back door. I just wanted to win football games and not get caught up in back story sources. That’s all.”
Wally Buono, the man who hired Hervey and will remain as head coach for one more season, certainly seems to have accepted Hervey’s explanation for how things went down in Edmonton.
“Ed took the bullet. Why is that? Because when you’re the leader, you take the bullets, you don’t expose your people to the bullets. He’s going to do what the coach wants him to do,” Buono said. “Guys, I’m going to suggest to him the locker room is open. Why? I understand our situation. We’ve always been media friendly, sometimes to our detriment. That’s not changing.”
Fans and media, from time to time, want to hear from the team’s general manager about decision’s he’s made. While Hervey may be able to get away with shoving Buono in front of the microphones for another year – Wally is as media-friendly as they come and understands the symbiotic nature of the relationship between media and the CFL – he will need to make himself more available this time around if the Lions have any hope of regaining their relevance in the Vancouver sports market.
Questions asked about Ed Hervey's attitude towards media. Let me say this: Football guys should NOT be setting media policies on ANY CFL team. They should coach and manage. Period. It's crazy that some recent CFL team media policies are more restrictive than NFL, MLB, NBA or NFL.
— David William Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) November 30, 2017