Speros doesn't find seat for ticket drive volunteers Special Teamers banned from farewell speech for critical remarks on move

February 06, 1996|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Special Teamers weren't feeling very special yesterday.

Ten members of the volunteer group that organized the Save Our Stallions season-ticket drive were left sitting in the lobby at Memorial Stadium, shut out of Stallions owner Jim Speros' final local news conference before departing for Montreal.

The Special Teamers, who had attended all the Stallions' previous news conferences, were told they were not welcome because of negative comments some of them made in Saturday's editions of The Sun in regard to the team's move.

"[The receptionist] told us it came from upstairs -- which meant Jim Speros -- that because of the comments we made in the paper, which were our feelings, that we couldn't come," said Special Teamers coordinator Len "Big Wheel" Burrier, who had compared Speros to Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay in Saturday's article.

Lucy Kelly, the Special Teamers coordinator who supervised the season-ticket campaign, was told that she was not even allowed to go to her office. "I don't want to talk about it because it will just get me upset," Kelly said.

During the news conference, Speros said: "I'm a little disappointed in some of the comments that were made because they weren't really fair. I did everything I possibly could to keep this football team here."

The Special Teamers could relate to that.

Many of the volunteers worked 12-hour days, including Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and took vacation time from their jobs to concentrate on the ticket drive, which fell approximately 7,000 shy of the 20,000 Speros had said he needed to keep the team here. Special Teamer Tom Guy even postponed his wedding to assist with the drive.

Speros spoke briefly with the Special Teamers on his way out of the stadium. He said he would meet with them when he got back in town Friday and invited them to be his guests at Olympic Stadium for the team's first game.

For most of the Special Teamers, the gesture was too little, too late.

"When we first met with the Stallions officials, we were told that we would be notified of what's going on prior to the media," Guy said. "We expected them to live up to that and they didn't. They told us they were in the process of trying to stay here, and four days later we hear [Speros] is in Montreal."

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