By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — After being named the team’s most outstanding Canadian, Winnipeg Blue Bombers fullback Mike Miller spoke out against voters for not selecting teammate Andrew Harris on Wednesday.
Four members of the Winnipeg chapter of the Football Reporters of Canada and Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea got votes, with Miller winning out over Harris, who served a two-game suspension earlier this season following a positive drug test.
The Winnipeg-born Harris, who has said the source of the positive test was a contaminated over-the-counter natural supplement he took, leads the CFL in rushing this year with 1,380 yards.
Miller, who also was the unanimous choice as the team’s most outstanding special-teams player, is tied for second in the CFL with 25 special-teams tackles. He has added six catches for 63 yards and one carry for 10 yards.
“It is my honour to be named the most outstanding special-teams player for the Bombers, but I feel I must speak out in support of Andrew Harris as our team’s most outstanding Canadian,” Miller said in a statement.
“Andrew is one of the true leaders on our team and one of the best players in the history of the Canadian Football League, and it is a shame he is not being recognized after such a sensational season. I will accept the Canadian nomination on Andrew’s behalf, but do so reluctantly and while completely disagreeing with his omission.”
Shortly after the announcement, the Winnipeg Sun published a column by sports reporter Ted Wyman, who explained why he did not vote for Harris.
“As a voter for the local nominations, I chose not to vote for Harris because of his positive drug test,” Wyman wrote.
Bob Irving, the radio play-by-play voice of the Bombers on CJOB, tweeted his support for Harris.
“To set the record straight, SOME Winnipeg voters, not all, decided that Andrew Harris should be further punished for his positive drug test,” he wrote.
“I believe that a 2-game suspension, 2 missed game cheques and public embarrassment in July was punishment enough—I proudly voted for him.”
Bombers defensive end Willie Jefferson was named the team’s most outstanding player and most outstanding defensive player, the latter in a unanimous vote.
Stanley Bryant was a unanimous choice as the Bombers’ top offensive lineman. Receiver Kenny Lawler was Winnipeg’s top rookie.
The division finalists will be announced Nov. 7. The CFL will honour its top performers Nov. 21 in Calgary.