If a school board deems Toronto Mayor Rob Ford unfit to lead young men as a football coach, it seems odd that he should be considered fit to lead the city – in the absence of a serious explanation about the drug allegations hanging over his head.
The Toronto Catholic District School Board did not give a reason for firing him as coach of the Don Bosco Eagles high school team on Wednesday, except to say it is “based on what is best for our students, our school and the Don Bosco community.” In March, Mr. Ford offended the parents council at Don Bosco by telling Sun News that young people at the school come from broken homes and belong to gangs. But it is fair to surmise that, because he was fired two and a half months later in the midst of a furor over allegations that he is shown on a videotape smoking crack cocaine, the allegations played some role in his dismissal. His brief denials did not assuage the board’s concerns. The board believed he was the wrong leader for young people.
The Mayor is a role model, or should be. Mr. Ford is sending a destructive message on substance abuse, at least while the allegations remain largely unanswered. Former Ontario finance minister Greg Sorbara called in to a radio show on Tuesday to make that point. Nothing that Mr. Ford’s brother, Doug, a city councillor, said at a news conference on Wednesday, repeating the Mayor’s claim that the allegations are ridiculous, showed that either of them grasps how serious the public’s concerns are.
Mr. Ford loved his football team, and he loves his city. It is sad to see him thrown under the bus after everything he gave to Don Bosco. But the board came to see him as the wrong leader for young people, and unless Mr. Ford addresses the allegations in a serious way, he’s the wrong leader for the rest of the city, too.