Toronto

Toronto councillor provokes NFL fans in New Orleans

A Toronto city councillor has outraged NFL fans in New Orleans with comments about the team possibly moving to his city.

A Toronto city councillor has outraged NFL fans in New Orleans with comments about the team possibly moving to his city.

Doug Ford, brother of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, told a sports journalist this week that he was excited about the possibility of an NFL franchise relocating to north of the border. The brothers are known as big football fans — and big fans of the NFL.

Doug Ford told sports network The Score that he believed Toronto is in line for a franchise.  But then he said, "Two teams are kind of in play here: Jacksonville’s number one; New Orleans is the other."

There was no reaction from Jacksonville, but fans of the 2010 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints were outraged at the suggestion their team would pack up and move.

"Reports about the Saints as a potential team moving to Toronto are completely false," said Saints vice-president of communications Greg Bensel in an email. "The New Orleans Saints are committed to the city of New Orleans."

Ford was quick to apologize and say he was sorry.  He said he had heard a rumour the Saints might be in difficulty and he should have been more careful. 

"I apologize to all of the folks in New Orleans and Louisiana," he told the Times-Picayune. "After all the struggles they've been through, the last thing in the world we would want to do is take away the Saints."

Ford said he didn't appreciate the devotion Louisiana fans felt for their beloved Saints.

"Have they put me on the most-wanted list down there?" he was quoted as saying.