NBL Canada London Lightning Owner Vito Frijia voices his concerns and opinions.
Don’t know where to start with this one. Simply shocking, the events that have transpired over the last 48 hours in the upstart National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada). This is starting to feel a little like a (World Wrestling Entertaining) episode rather than what is supposed to be a terrific NBL Canada Finals series between the Windsor Express and PEI Island Storm in a best-of-seven series.
The good news is the league will finally crown a new champion, it’s first since it’s inception back in 2011 as the London Lightning finally were knocked off after back-to-back championships, paving the way for a new team to earn a a title in the nine-team league.
“We want it run professionally. We don’t want this type of garbage,” Frijia said.
He said he knows his position won’t be universally popular among the team owners.
“They will tell me I breached the conditions of the league” by releasing the documents, Frijia said. “And I’ll tell them to f— themselves.”
Mr. Frijia’s response comes out a day after NBL Canada commissioner Paul Riley issued a statement mentioning that the league supports the actions taken by Windsor Express owner Dartis Willis to effectively give the boot to London Lightning columnist Morris Dalla Costa who has been expressing his views for the London Free Press for over 30 years.
Also released were details of a private email exchange between Commissioner Paul Riley and rest of the team owners.
Here is Riley’s e-mail discussing the fallout:
“Guys, how exactly is any of this media attention bad for us? No one is saying our players aren’t great. No one is saying we do not provide great family entertainment.
“They are saying, “how dare you eject a reporter!!”
“They are saying, “Paul Riley is an ass . . . among other things.”
“The residual of this whole thing is that in the last 12 hours we have received more media coverage than in the history of the league.”
I guess as long as they are taking about you, it’s all good.
“Publicity is publicity” somebody once told me, but I’m willing to bet all parties associated with the National Basketball League of Canada would’ve rather see a positive image being portrayed about the league heading into the Championship series, instead we’ve got a media fiasco that will surely leave investors, sponsors and media wondering if the management/leadership really understand the true impact of this latest NBL Canada soap-opera.
One thing is for the sure, the games will go on, a new champion will be crowned and more questions will be asked, but the true damage may come in the form of the National Basketball League of Canada leaving the door open for other leagues looking to establish themselves as a “True” Canadian Basketball League and one who which actually gives more opportunities to Canadian players instead of limiting the exposure, especially at time where the abundance of Canadian players are flocking to Europe after completing their collegiate careers instead of having opportunities right here at home.
The league also has had hard time finding a stable commissioner with the position changing hands four times in less than four years starting with League President & Halifax Rainmen owner Andre Levingston (2011), John Kennedy (2012), Susan Gordon (2012) and now with Paul Riley (2013).