Redblacks act selfishly in denying Riders chance to interview Elizondo

Remember back in 2015 when the Ottawa Redblacks had a conniption because Edmonton wanted to hire Jason Maas to be their head coach?

Remember how it led to a rule that stated that under-contract coaches needed their current team’s permission to interview for promotions with other clubs?

Ottawa just used that rule to block their offensive coordinator Jamie Elizondo from interviewing for the vacant head coaching position in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan requested permission to interview Elizondo, and the Redblacks said no. Elizondo interviewed for the head coaching jobs in both B.C. and Toronto that ultimately went to DeVone Claybrooks and Corey Chamblin, respectively, late last year. So one has to wonder why they were alright with it then but not now. Could it be that they knew Elizondo wouldn’t get either job? Claybrooks and Chamblin were touted as the front runners (along with Orlondo Steinauer) very early on in the process, so it’s possible Ottawa let Elizondo interview because they knew he would never be hired for either job.

But could there be other nefarious reasons afoot?

Aside from a head coach, the Riders also need a QB. And you know which QB is a soon-to-be free agent, why it is Redblacks’ QB Trevor Harris. The same Trevor Harris who put up his best numbers with Elizondo as his OC.

Is it possible that the move to block Elizondo is also an attempt to thwart the Riders from having an inside track to signing Harris in February? That’s purely speculation, but I’m not the only one to type it.

I am all for teams doing what is best for them. When Edmonton foolishly fired GM Ed Hervey in April of 2017, I went on record as saying that any team that was asked to grant permission to interview one of their guys for that role should say no. It was April, the draft was a couple weeks away and the season was about to start. If Edmonton wanted to be dumb and fire their GM, they shouldn’t look for another team to bail them out.

The situation in Saskatchewan is not the same. They didn’t fire Chris Jones, he left on his own accord. It’s not April, it’s January, and the season is still many months away. This is not too late in the game to find coordinators if one of your guys takes a better job elsewhere.

We hear often, mostly from Redblacks fans, about what a class organization the Redblacks are. Class organizations let their employees interview for promotions. So they next time all the fans of R-Nation want to scream about class, remember this.

And remember back in 2013 when Ottawa was looking to fill out their inaugural coaching staff that they pilfered other teams of their under-contract coaches. No one batted an eye then, especially the Redblacks, but now that the shoe is once again on the other foot they act like an only child who never learned to share.

Eight of nine CFL franchises seem to still operate the way it should be — does anyone remember Calgary demanding compensation for letting DeVone Claybrooks go to B.C. — but one is steadfast in demanding the the rules only benefit them.

The right thing to do is let Elizondo interview for the job. Just as it would be if the Riders went to any of the other teams to ask permission to interview one of their coaches.

The wrong thing to do is what Ottawa did.

But doing the wrong thing seems unfortunately typical of the Redblacks organization during this time of the year.

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