Point of View

'People want winners': Rider fan comments on team controversies

The Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are 1-8 this season, head into Sunday's Labour Day Classic with over 33,000 critical eyes watching from a sell-out crowd at Mosaic Stadium. Fans, like Jared Francais, are expressing frustration.

Roughriders play Winnipeg Blue Bombers Sunday at Mosaic Stadium

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are 1-8 heading into Sunday's game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (CBC)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are 1-8 this season, head into Sunday's Labour Day Classic with over 33,000 critical eyes watching from a sellout crowd at Mosaic Stadium.

Fans, like Jared Francais, are expressing frustration.

"People want winners," Francais, from Warman, Sask., told CBC Radio host Sheila Coles on The Morning Edition. "But we also want players and a team we can be proud of."

Francais provided comments on some controversies involving the football club.

Recently, the team brought Khalif Mitchell into the Roughrider fold. Mitchell has been the focus of attention relating to his use of social media.

"This is not a guy that I want on my team and this is not a Rider," Francais said. "This isn't the type of guy that fits the mold of the Saskatchewan Roughriders."

Francais noted that Mitchell has been associated with an aggressive style of football on the field and has used his twitter account to share his personal opinions. Francais said that doesn't fit with the club's image.

"Saskatchewan is all about our football team it's kind of a reflection of us," he said. "We're hardworking, honest, proud people. And this is a guy … not only has a history of playing dirty, but he's also taken his social media with racist remarks."

Francais also commented on the team's recent brushes with CFL rules, after the Roughriders were slapped with several fines relating to roster violations. Francais said that does not reflect well on the team's management.

"I understand we're changing teams [and there is] a lot of roster turnover, things like that happen," Francais said. "But things like the fine for the roster stuff — I want us to play above board. I want us to play on the edge. I want us to do everything we can to win. But I want it to be within the rules."

Mitchell has been at Roughrider practices but he did not appear on the team's list of players expected to play Sunday.

When it comes to Rider head coach and general manager Chris Jones, Francais provided a suggestion that Jones become more familiar with the background of the team.

"He's a little bit over that edge," Francais said. "I kind of want him to go read the Rider code of conduct. It's listed on the website.

"Saskatchewan wants a winning team but we also want that Rider pride — that team we are proud of."

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition