Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rider GM Eric Tillman Gets Off..... The Hook, That Is....

In Saskatchewan, the word “Riders” is holy logos. People in the province won’t be able to tell you who their Lieutenant Governor is, but be damned sure they will be able to recite the entire starting lineup for their beloved Roughriders CFL football team. It’s a religion. And Rider coaching and management staff? They are royalty. And I don’t mean the quaint and nice type of royalty like Princess Di you find on ornamental plates; I mean the dirty, lecherous, power-hungry, hubris-soaked kind of royals you read about in Shakespearean plays.

*Enter stage right: General Manager of the Riders, Eric Tillman.*

Is it any real surprise that Mr. Tillman got off the hook for sexually assaulting a sixteen year old girl? The very foundation of Rider Pride was shaken to its core when allegations surfaced last year that he sexually assaulted a young girl. People in Saskatchewan were in shock. How could it be? Could the man with a hairdo that they modeled Chia-Pets and curling shoe cleaners after, could do such a thing? But one can never underestimate the commitment of Rider fans to their team and supreme leader. As of last month, the vast majority of Rider fans polled (obviously still delirious with denial) said “Keep Tillman on,” and regardless of the outcome of the trial. Then again, what else would one expect from people who make watermelons look smart when they are both seen together.

Tillman went on to plead guilty and apologized, yet also maintained that he had no memory of the incident due to medication he was on (most likely anti-depressants since he has to live in SK). And we find out today that he now has been given an absolute discharge and will have no criminal record thereafter. Just lovely. And during the so-called sentencing, he didn’t even have to sit in the prisoner’s box like any other accused – he was allowed to sit with his counsel. Talk about preferential treatment.

In the end, the judge deemed the incident “out of character” for Tillman. Good grief, are they close drinking buddies or something? The judge might as well have dismissed the charge as treasonous and a contravention to the [Rider] national interest. The judge could have also put his rider jersey and a water melon on his head to announce the judgement – then bust out a keg of 'Pil for all!

In the end, I’m sure people in SK will be cheering this mockery of justice, the same way they cheered on former Rider coach Kent Austin when he screwed the team again and skipped town for a better job in the US after one year. They really should change the Rider cheer to “Wham Bam Thank You M’am!” It would have to replace the current cheer “Riders Grey Cup! Next year FER-SURE!”

I bet Mr. Tillman will even join the ranks of Grant Devine one day and receive the prestigious Order of Merit for his deeds. Now, if only Saskies knew who handed Order of Merits out.

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