Ottawa Redblacks fire general manager Marcel Desjardins
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Redblacks have fired Marcel Desjardins, the only general manager in franchise history.
Desjardins said Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group CEO Mark Goudie visited his office early Monday morning and told him the team was making a change.
“I said well, I think you guys are making a mistake, but that’s up to you guys, and thanks very much, and packed my bag and came back home,” Desjardins told TSN 1200’s John Rodenburg and Shawn Simpson.
“It’s disappointing to leave on this note, but at the end of the day it’s the business. I’m looking ahead.”
The Redblacks were eliminated from playoff contention after a 32-3 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday. The team has a 2-9 record this season.
Goudie said in a statement that Desjardins, the first employee hired by the team in 2013, "has put everything that he has into our organization."
"His many accomplishments include bringing Ottawa its first Grey Cup win in 40 years," Goudie said. "I respect Marcel very much and thank him for his unwavering commitment to the REDBLACKS, RNation and our community.”
Desjardins said he still believes the team is on the right track, but admitted he was disappointed in the results this year.
“We do a lot of things the right way, we just don’t end up with the results, and that’s the disappointing part. And I take responsibility for that.”
However, he also suggested that others bear responsibility for the team’s lacklustre results.
“There are obviously things that I could have done better, but there are things that a lot of people could have done better,” he told TSN 1200. “At the end of the day, if there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s when decisions have to be made, make sure you control your own destiny. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mode where that’s concerned, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Assistant general manager Jeremy Snyder is taking over as interim general manager for the rest of the season, the team said Monday. Jean-Marc Edmé, who has been with the organization since 2016, will assume the Interim Assistant General Manager role. Snyder has been with the organization since 2013, and Edmé since 2016.
Redblacks last in East Division
The Redblacks have not made the playoffs since losing in the 2018 Grey Cup game to the Calgary Stampeders. They missed the playoffs in 2019, and the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They sit in last in the East Division this season.
The franchise hired Desjardins in 2013 as its first-ever general manager. He oversaw the assembly of a roster, led by quarterback Henry Burris, that led to a Grey Cup appearance in 2015 and a Grey Cup victory the following year.
Before joining the Redblacks, he spent the prior 10 seasons as an assistant general manager with the Montreal Alouettes.
Asked whether he has a message for the fans of the team on Monday, Desjardins was blunt.
“Some of them have been great, some of them have been very difficult on me, especially,” he said.
“To those who were supportive, thank you. To those who weren’t, you got what you wanted.”