QMI Agency reporter kicked out of basketball game 0
London Free Press columnist Morris Dalla Costa and Windsor Express forward DeAndre Thomas. (QMI Agency)
A QMI Agency sports reporter thought he was the subject of an April Fools’ joke Tuesday when asked to leave an arena while covering a basketball game.
Turns out it was no joking matter.
At the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ont., to write about a National Basketball League of Canada playoff game, Morris Dalla Costa, a columnist for the London Free Press, was ejected from the building prior to tipoff. No explanation was given.
“Being April Fools I thought it was pretty funny,” Dalla Costa said shortly after the incident.
“They said they didn’t want me in the building. I have no idea what happened,” he added. “No explanations.”
About 40 minutes before game time, Dalla Costa had been tweeting about a scuffle between a Windsor Express player and London Lightning coach Michael Ray Richardson. The player, ex-Lightning big man DeAndre Thomas, had whipped a ball into the stands in frustration.
Dalla Costa -- who has covered the Lightning and the NBL since the pro league was established in 2011 -- was then approached by arena staff. Moments after describing the incident on Twitter, he was told to exit the building.
The league commissioner, Paul Riley, was in attendance Tuesday and knew about the ejection. However, Riley said it wasn't his call.
"The buildings are run by the owners of the teams in their own cities. That’s their policy," Riley told the Windsor Star.
"The owner here (in Windsor) had told him he thinks this reporter has taken some personal shots and has gone beyond the role of a reporter and wasn’t acting in the role of a reporter or journalist with some of his personal attacks on every other team except London."
Riley added he is not a fan of Dalla Costa's coverage of his league.
"Being a commissioner and being a former journalist as well -- in fact I still teach journalism ethics -- I had some questions about his coverage as well and I made that known to Mr. Dalla Costa," Riley said to the Star. "I’ve told him I don’t think he’s treated the league fairly or professionally or ethically. He doesn’t agree with me and that’s his prerogative."