Mayor Rob Ford has drawn considerable criticism for putting football ahead of council at times, but at least one prominent Torontonian says he’s right to do so.

Appearing on CP24 Thursday afternoon, Toronto Argonauts General Manager Jim Barker said he is fine with Ford skipping council meetings to coach his high school football team, especially with his Don Bosco Eagles playing in the Metro Bowl Tuesday.

“He can be a councillor anytime, but there is only once chance you get with that group of young men to experience winning a championship,” Barker told CP24. “It will never happen again and to the mayor I would say experience that championship with those special young men.”

Ford has previously said that he would skip a Tuesday council meeting to coach in the Metro Bowl if his team advanced that far, which they did with a 27-11 victory over the St. Andrew's Saints Tuesday.

Barker, a former coach himself, said the mayor would be letting his players down if he bows to public pressure and doesn’t follow through on that promise.

“Just think what message it would be sending to those young people if he was to do that,” he said. “They would say he bailed out on us the last game and that he yielded to pressure.”

A football coach first?

With the 100th Grey Cup set for Sunday, Toronto’s football-loving mayor has been all over the place, attending several events and even playing a game of pick-up football during a photo-op at Nathan Phillips Square Tuesday.

The Mayor is scheduled to attend the big game Sunday. 

“He is a coach,” Barker said. “I don’t look at him as the mayor I look at him as a coach and any time a football coach can be a mayor that’s a great thing for us old coaches.”

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