After calling out the Edmonton Elks general manager Brock Sunderland on the Rod Pedersen Show last Friday, former CFL defensive tackle Eddie Steele was fired on Wednesday from his position as a radio analyst for Edmonton Elks broadcasts with 630 CHED.
While on The Rod Pedersen Show, Steele shared his thoughts on the issues the Elks have been facing this season, stating,
“I think there is a major division amongst the players in the locker room that goes back to the whole COVID outbreak. You’ve got a lot of guys who are on opposite sides, and they’re just really not playing together as a team, but it actually goes even higher than that.”
“I was on a radio show yesterday talking about it, and it starts from the top down. Brock Sunderland, their GM, I think there’s some issues with him and just the way he conducts himself, the way he does business. It’s a trickle-down effect throughout the organization. Ultimately, he’s the captain of the ship, and where he steers, the ship is going to go. I think he’s a major factor why we’re seeing the Elks in the situation that they’re in right now.”
Eddie Steele Full Interview With Rod Pedersen
Many have been rightfully upset with Steele’s release from 630 CHED, including Saskatchewan Roughriders analyst Luc Mullinder who took to Twitter in Steele’s defense, stating,
“This is BS. Everyone at 630 CHED should be ashamed of themselves, including guys like Dave Campbell who probably sat there knowing that every word of what Eddie Steele said was true but was too scared to say it himself. We can’t sit here and act like this is okay folks.”
“Eddie Steele voiced his authentic opinion on what is wrong with the Elks. Whether they like it or not shouldn’t matter, it’s his opinion as an analyst. 630 CHED knew what they were getting with Eddie. It’s why 620 CKRM and 980 CJME hires former CFLers like myself.”
“PLAYERS COME WITH CONTACTS, TRUST, AND KNOWLEDGE; that’s hard to create as a regular member of the media. 630 CHED wanted ALL OF THAT LEVERAGE cause it equals programming $$$ and because the team got moist, they turned their back on a guy that was trying to make them better.”
“Now I’m not sure what 630 CHED ’s business model is, but to be this cowardly because the Elks didn’t like what Eddie Steele said sets a DANGEROUS precedence. It’s censorship at its worst. I don’t actually blame the Elks. Someone at 630 CHED should’ve had a backbone.”
“And don’t give me: ‘Well they have a coaching show and relationship that’s deeper with the team.’ SO WHAT. I always get asked what the Riders think about some of the things I’ve said and my response is immediate: ‘They shouldn’t care.’ THIS IS THE BUSINESS THAT WE’VE CHOSE.”
“I’m gutted for Eddie Steele. I know how excited he was to help educate a great Elks fan base. There’s nothing wrong with what he said, and everyone over there needs to look in the mirror and ask themselves: ‘What type of person do I want to be?’ Eddie knows the answer. He’s authentic.”
Even fans have chimed in on social media to share their feelings regarding Eddie Steele’s firing,
This season, the Elks have dealt with a handful of controversies that can be linked back to their general manager Brock Sunderland. Former head coach Scott Milanovich, who was hired in December of 2019, left for a position in the NFL as the Indianapolis Colts quarterback coach early in 2021, before ever coaching a game for the Elks. Additionally, multiple former players have had negative comments regarding how their contracts were handled and/or how their release from the organization was discussed with the media.
Another controversy was the outbreak of COVID-19 that caused the team to postpone a game against the Toronto Argonauts due to 17 players testing positive. The team will now play 3 games in a 7-day span to close out the season A result. This can potentially be linked back to Sunderland as well, as it was recently reported that he has not been vaccinated and has received a medical exemption after consulting with a few different doctors with no details released publicly as to why.
While it may not be normal for an analyst to call out the GM of the team they cover, there is definitely some merit to Eddie Steele’s comments. The Elks have a talented roster and came into the season with high expectations. Now the team is sitting at the bottom of the entire CFL with a record of 2-5.
Before his time as an analyst, Steele played 8 seasons in the CFL after being selected in the 3rd round (22nd overall) of the 2010 CFL Draft. He’d spend 4 seasons with Edmonton, where he was a part of the team that would go on to win the 2015 Grey Cup. In his career, Steele appeared in a total of 123 games, making 145 tackles, 18 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.
In July, Eddie Steele joined 360 CHED radio in Edmonton as an analyst to broadcast the 2021 season. However, his time with the station was cut short after only 7 weeks due to him speaking truthfully regarding how he felt about the Elks current situation.