Monday, July 28, 2008

Not Hard To Decipher Junior's Feelings On Millen

One of the prerequisites, if you are contemplating whether to join the bottom feeders and get into blogging or journalism, is to hone your skill at reading between the lines. It's a talent (?) that will serve you well. I promise.

Sometimes, you will find out, reading between said lines isn't all that difficult. In fact, you may even find that the spaces between those lines practically reach out and yank on the cuffs of your pants, craving attention.

I'd say that pretty much sums up the feelings Lions Vice Chairman Bill Ford, Jr. has for President Matt Millen -- without saying so, of course. Leaving us to our own devices.

Several months ago, in one of those "exclusive" newspaper interviews that was long on quantity but low on quality, Ford spoke on many subjects re: the Lions. Inevitably, the topic turned to Millen, the beleaguered prez with the 31-81 overall record. How would Ford, who pushed for Millen's hiring, judge the man now?

"Matt doesn't report to me," Ford said in the beginning of a non-reply that was more of a reply than you can imagine. "So I don't feel like I should comment on that."

Wow. That was one of those things that creates an awkward silence, even if you're alone reading it, as I was at the time.

The other day, Ford was at it again. He had just attended a Lions training camp practice, and was collared on his way off the field. And again Millen came up, because, well, why wouldn't he?

"I discussed that earlier in the year (Ed. note: well, not really), and I don't want to talk about it," Ford said.


Ford Jr., left, will talk all day about coach Rod Marinelli; not so when it comes to Millen

That sounds about as far away from even a mild endorsement as you can get, from someone who SHOULD have an opinion, and SHOULD deem it necessary to at least give it a cursory comment.
Junior's going out of his way to NOT talk about Millen shouldn't be all that hard to decipher, even for those who don't make it a point to write drivel about the team as a career, or hobby.

There wasn't even the obligatory, intelligence-disrespecting attempt to toss us some canned words, like, "I think we're finally on the right track", or "No one is more frustrated than Matt," or anything at all suggesting that Millen has even the tiniest bit of support, or confidence, from Junior.

Rarely have two instances of, essentially, "No comment" spoken so loudly around Lions Land. If you're inclined to read between the lines -- in this case, wide gaps, like a double-spaced child's book report.

I just found it odd, and like I say, kind of uncomfortable, that Ford Jr. would take such a hard, "mum's the word" approach when it comes to Millen, when it would have been totally in character and expected if he fed us some malarkey, if only to give the appearances of some solidarity in the executive washroom, whether that was the case or not.

But Ford chose to evade the subject, lamely explaining that since Millen doesn't report to him, that means he has no opinion on the matter -- or at least, not one worth mentioning.

Now, THAT'S some malarkey.

It doesn't take much of a leap, I don't believe, to suggest that Ford Jr. declines comment on Matt Millen because he is taking some sort of sage advice from an elder: If you have nothing kind to say, then say nothing at all.

But that advice comes with the rider that, by doing so, by staying mum, you pretty much show your cards anyway. There's another old saying: The silence is deafening.

Ford was asked what, if any, ramifications there will be if the Lions do not make the playoffs in 2008.

"I'm not getting into that," Ford said. "I'm not getting into any kind of what-ifs and end of the year. That'll sort itself out at the end of the year."

Now THERE'S the kind of canned response that was missing when it came to Millen.

But Ford makes sense in this instance. No reason to talk tough or make threats about people's jobs, in the first week of training camp, when the team is trying to be optimistic and flowery.

When it comes to Matt Millen, it's obvious that Junior has little say, if any, in the prez's fate. It also seems obvious that, HAD he any say, Junior might have pulled the plug on the Millen Era, perhaps even years ago. That part just might frustrate him beyond belief. And might lead one to choke out a "no comment", when you'd love to do just the opposite.

Of course, that's just me reading between the lines.

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