Rob Ford (David Cooper / Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Rob Ford has joined the Hall of Fame's board of directors in a non-voting position. But does hockey really need to get involved with the former crack-smoking mayor of Toronto?Sorry, hockey world. Rob Ford is your problem now. The controversial former mayor of Toronto was elected to the Hall of Fame's board of directors late last month, a Hall spokesperson confirmed this weekend. Ford, who now serves as a Toronto city councillor, will hold a non-voting position on the board alongside two other city councillors. That means he'll have no say in who is inducted. Ford bowed out of Toronto's last mayor election after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He ran for a council seat instead, and has settled into a quieter role at Toronto City Hall since winning that seat on council. But the man's pop culture legacy remains, and it's going to be hard to ignore as he joins the Hall of Fame board. Ford gained international fame infamy over a year ago when video surfaced showing him smoking what looks like crack cocaine. And it only got worse from there, as more videos went public of him swearing in Jamaican patois at a chicken restaurant, walking around intoxicated at a food festival and talking trash about his political opponents with all the panache of a WWE wrestler. He repeatedly denied the cocaine allegations, then owned up to them and became an international target of mockery and ridicule. He even had a shot at re-election before his health problems put him out of the running. Scandal has continued to plague Ford since he left the mayor's office, with his long-time friend and former driver is currently on trial for dealing drugs. Ladies and gentlemen, this is one of your Hall of Fame directors. But while Ford's track record is pretty cringe-worthy, his love of sports is without question. While he was mayor, he spoke openly about his hope to relocate an NFL team to Toronto. He used to coach a high school football team until a series of issues, including the crack scandal, forced the school to can him. And lest we all forget, he was wearing a Toronto Argonauts CFL jersey when he told reporters about "getting enough" of a certain something at home. So yeah, Rob Ford loves football. But he also loves hockey – maybe a little too much. Several people have slammed Ford for his behaviour at Toronto Maple Leafs games over the years. He once drunkenly called a group of fans at the Air Canada Centre "right-wing Communists bastards." Another time, he took someone's taxi cab after a particularly raucous night at the game. And just this week, Ford skipped out of a city council meeting for a "funeral," then posed for selfies with fans at a Leafs game the same night.
At the Leaf game, not council RT @normwilner:Sober as a judge, too. RT @juliadeck_ Soooooo Rob Ford is our new friend pic.twitter.com/D6Ia0ATEng — LadySnarksalot (@LadySnarksalot) April 1, 2015The guy even had Don Cherry swear him in as mayor, so you know he loves hockey. And he's not without his successes. Ford was elected mayor on the promise he would stop the "gravy train" of spending in Toronto politics, and he did manage to cut the budget by a hefty amount. He was also a people-friendly mayor who gave out his home phone number and posed for photos with absolutely everyone he encountered. Heck, my mom took a picture with the guy once. But the man comes with a lot of personal baggage and a reputation for behaving badly. Hockey players and executives tend to downplay controversy and shy away from headline-grabbing statements. So why is the Hall of Fame involved with a headline-grabber like Rob Ford? Here's Hall of Fame director of communications Kelly Masse on Twitter.
Regarding Rob Ford on HHOF Board..HHOF does not decide who is nominated and elected by the City of Toronto to the HHOF Board. (1/2)— Kelly Masse (@KellyHockeyHall) April 4, 2015
That means "Sorry folks, but Toronto gets the final say here."
Under HHOF's Articles of Incorporation, the City has the right to nominate and elect up to 3 individuals to the eighteen member Board. (2/2)— Kelly Masse (@KellyHockeyHall) April 4, 2015