By most accounts, Rob Ford is a very good football coach. He’s not a very good mayor.
So why keep forcing the issue? Amidst damning allegations that he’s been using office staff and resources to help run his high school football team, Ford should do the only sensible thing: leave this city hall business behind and focus on football. He should devote his time to the job he’s good at.
For a guy who knows way more about passing footballs than he does about passing items at city council, ditching politics for sports is an obvious choice.
On the field, Ford has a respectable record. His Don Bosco Eagles routinely post winning seasons and challenge for championships. Even more impressive is that Ford essentially built the school’s football program from nothing, giving kids from low-income neighbourhoods a new chance to get involved in something meaningful.
There’s no doubt Ford has helped kids graduate and kept them away from gangs. He’s made lives better.
In committee rooms and council chamber at city hall, however, the mayor’s been an ineffective mess. His antics routinely distract the public from important issues like transit, housing or taxes. And there’s a mounting pile of evidence that says he just can’t be bothered to show up to work as often as he probably should.
Even supporters who consider themselves fans of Ford’s core principles — slashing budgets, ending the war on the car, complaining about socialists, etc. — have got to realize that the mayor has killed any chance he once had at turning those principles into policy. He hasn’t won a significant vote at city council in almost a year.
The mayor simply doesn’t know how to score points in the city hall game. Rob Ford’s political playbook is nothing but a single scrawled piece of paper that reads “YELL ABOUT STUFF.” And, even though it’s a proven loser, he keeps running that same play.
More importantly, football seems to make Ford happy. When he stood on the stage at a backyard party a couple of weeks ago, his fiery speech culminated not with future political goals but with a booming promise that he would take his kids to the Metro Bowl championship this year.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard him so enthusiastic. Football inspires Rob Ford in a way that being mayor doesn’t.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that it’s become clear that there’s not really room in his life for both politics and coaching. Ford has got to choose between the mayor’s office and the football field.
He should pick the field. Out there, at least, Rob Ford knows how to win.