Toronto mayor fired from coaching job

AP News
Posted: May 22, 2013 8:16 PM
Toronto mayor fired from coaching job

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was fired from his job as football coach at a Catholic high school Wednesday for reasons unrelated to the scandal over a video that purports to show the leader of Canada's largest city smoking crack cocaine, officials said.

Toronto Catholic District School Board spokesman John Yan said the decision to remove Ford as the head of Don Bosco Eagles Football program had to do with the comments the mayor made to the Sun TV Network in March that parents found offensive.

"The mayor in the interview characterized the parent community here as not caring about their kids, that the students were involved in gangs and guns and that if it weren't for him they would be in jail," Yan said. "I don't know of any parent who would want themselves characterized in the public media as negligent of their kids."

The alleged crack smoking video has not been released publicly and there is no way to verify whether it is authentic. Reports on the gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star claimed it was taken by men who claimed they had sold the drug to Ford. The Associated Press hasn't seen the video.

The Star reported that two journalists had watched a video that appears to show Ford, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. The Star said it did not obtain the video or pay to watch it. Gawker and the Star said the video was shown to them by a drug dealer who had been trying to sell it for a six-figure sum.

The Star also reported that Ford allegedly made a racist remark about high school football students he coached.

Ford has mostly been ducking the media and his only comments on the scandal came Friday, a day after the story broke, when he called the crack smoking allegations "ridiculous" and "another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me."

On Wednesday morning, Ford got into a testy exchange with a local TV reporter seeking comment.

"Are you going to escort me all the way to city hall too," Rob Ford mockingly asked a reporter for CTV television. "Did you bring your sleeping bag? Did you bring your pillow?

Also Wednesday, the mayor's brother City Councilor Doug Ford took to a microphone at City Hall to deliver a long, rambling defense of his brother.

"Rob is telling me these stories are untrue, that these allegations are ridiculous and I believe him," Ford said, lashing out at the media for demanding an explanation.

"If the mayor stopped and held a press conference every time the media made up a story about him, we would never have accomplished what we have," said Ford, who also refused to answer questions from reporters.

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City Councilor Jaye Robinson said the wrong Ford spoke Wednesday.

"He's the mayor of our city. His big brother Doug Ford is not the mayor of our city and he needs to come forward and tell us what his true and what is not and move forward," Robinson said.

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said Ford's lawyers have advised him that saying less is better.

But Holyday worried that Ford's refusal to address the issue was only adding fuel to fire.

"The mayor has to come out and speak to the media," Holyday said. "He has to clearly state his position on the whole thing. Until he does that it won't go away."

Holyday, a Ford ally, said it's also unfortunate that the city is finding itself the butt of jokes on late night U.S. talk shows. Both "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" poked fun at the mayor and the city late Tuesday.

The controversy has drawn comparisons to the 1990 arrest of then-Washington Mayor Marion Barry, who was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room during an FBI sting operation. Barry served six months in federal prison on a misdemeanor drug possession conviction and later won a fourth term as mayor in 1994.