Rob Ford’s football frenzy

November 28, 2012

Toronto, Canada

By Mark Blinch

Rob Ford is a very interesting man. He is definitely not your typical mayor. At Reuters, city politics is not usually something we cover. If we do, it’s usually because of a big city election or a major mayoral scandal. In Toronto, it looks like we may be on the brink of both.

Ford was legally removed from office on Monday after a judge found him guilty of violating conflict-of-interest laws.

The controversy began back in 2010. That’s when Ford raised eyebrows by soliciting donations for his private football foundation using official city letterhead. Ford’s actions were questioned again when he took part in a council debate and vote on the matter, voting to remove the sanctions that were ordered against him.

The judge’s decision and Ford’s actions made headlines around the world yesterday. In the Twitterverse, Rob Ford was a worldwide top-trending topic for most of the day.

His antics become viral sensations, his quotes become the stuff that journalists dream about.

In the last two years since he has been elected mayor, Ford has made headlines for aggressively confronting a reporter mulling about next to his home. He has made headlines for talking on his cellphone while driving and then giving the middle finger to another driver who called him out on it. And who can forget about the time Ford called 911 after he was approached by a reporter and TV camera from a well-known satirical news show.

Ford is a great person to photograph. You always have to be on your toes because he can be so unpredictable and always makes for great pictures.

Today he made a speech at the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup parade pep rally after the Toronto Argonauts captured the league’s championship on Sunday. He had just finished giving a speech to congratulate the team when he made his way back to the building. A throng of cameras and reporters anxiously awaited him, but he was not interested in taking their questions about the judge’s order to be removed from office.

However it was Football – the very sport that got him into this mess to begin with – that inspired his latest move to escape the media.

While still wearing his Toronto Argonauts team jersey, he pummeled through the mass of media like a running back breaking the defensive line. His security detail created a path to allow Ford to get through acting like his offensive line. When he finally broke through the hordes of cameras, he ran to the door like the end zone on a football field and he was finally out of site.

It was the best scrum I think I have ever seen – a mayor breaking the scrum by going right through the middle of it.

At the end of the day, whether you hate him or love him, Rob Ford is a journalist’s dream to cover. You can’t ask for much more when covering a politician.

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