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SBD/December 20, 2012/Franchises
Bills Players Speak Out Against Toronto Series, Calling It "A Joke"
Published December 20, 2012
GUY ON A BUFFALO: ESPN.com's James Walker wrote the Toronto series was "a business move by Bills ownership that hasn't been great in terms of fan turnout." But an "extended agreement is in place until 2017." Bills players need to "get their minds off Toronto and focus on playing better football" (ESPN.com, 12/19). The AP's John Wawrow noted Wood expressed his complaints "despite not making the trip to Toronto." Wood stayed home because he is "recovering from a sprained right knee," but he saw "enough on TV and also heard from teammates to appreciate how familiar the atmosphere was to the two games he's played in Toronto." Wood said he does not "blame" Bills CEO Russ Brandon for the Bills in Toronto series. Wood: "I respect the decisions that he makes to keep us in this market and provide a good business plan. But from a playing standpoint, unless it improves, it's not a whole lot of fun to play there" (AP, 12/19). In Buffalo, Jerry Sullivan writes, "For once, an athlete spoke from his heart and didn’t backpedal later. I was afraid management might take him to the Wood-shed and order him to walk back his comments." Bills players "generally mouth the company line about the Toronto games being good for business." It is "about time a player stood up against a shameless money-grab that takes away a true home game and compromises the team’s competitive advantage once every season" (BUFFALO NEWS, 12/20).
STAY A WHILE: In Buffalo, Tom Precious noted Erie County (New York) Exec Mark Poloncarz yesterday "was sounding confident ... after what he described as 'significant talks' Tuesday night by representatives of the county, state and Buffalo Bills about keeping the team from leaving town." Poloncarz said that all sides are "focused on a multiyear effort that would include public financing -- including capital and some operating costs -- for the team in return for a commitment to stay" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 12/19).