Ever since a certain bespectacled columnist left TSN years ago to join another network, panelists hired to discuss the CFL on Canadian national television have been restricted to former players and a general manager in between league jobs (Eric Tillman). The result, generally, has been predictable in that we've heard little in the way of interesting, objective criticisms or remarks that could be construed as anything other than promotional or positive by the league and/or its participants.
Sean Millington is proving to be a major exception this year.
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The former fullback — he split 13 seasons with the B.C. Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts — has been zinging and slinging from his perch on the CBC panel.
He's been causing a stir within the CFL by taking shots at folks in the league, including Hamilton Tiger-Cats general manager Marcel Desjardins.
The Ticats enter their game Saturday night against the Montreal Alouettes with an 0-2 record. Their first two games, in which they were absolutely dreadful in every aspect of the game, left Hamilton fans with no reason to believe their team is any better than what it was in its woebegone, cellar-dwelling season last year.
So Millington questioned Desjardins' recruiting on the air. This week, in a telephone interview with me, Millington elaborated:
"The way the Tiger-Cats have been playing is revealing the truth about Desjardins and his work," Millington said. "His work isn't very good. He's done a bad job. He hasn't brought in capable players."
Oh, and Millington told me he wasn't all that impressed with the 0-2 Als, either.
"Montreal has gotten old," Millington said, "and you wonder why there hasn't been changes there."
Millington's candor is refreshing, I think. Maybe it's coming out more conpsicuously now because he knows the CBC's contract with the CFL expires after this season. Or maybe it's because he realizes it's his obligation to tell it like he really sees it.
Whatever, Millington is making up for the absence this season of Darren Flutie from the CBC airwaves with his revelations and views, not only on CBC but also in his columns at