Western Grandstand : Of Danny Beckford and courage under pressure
As I expected, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) came down hard on Danny Beckford, the president of the St. Ann Football Federation, because of his bold decision to challenge the stewardship of JFF boss, Captain Horace Burrell, in light of stagnation that has hijacked national football.
Based on Beckford's media response to the six-month ban that the federation has levelled against him, it would appear that he was not called to meeting to explain his utterances before the decision was taken to shut him up for speaking his mind.
If that is indeed the case, and I suspect it is so, based on the history of high-handed behaviour by the JFF, it would be yet another sad case of the majority of the federation's affiliates singing like a choir to impress Captain Burrell with their blind loyalty, which is becoming increasingly ridiculous.
As I have stated in previous columns, I strongly admire the independence of Beckford and his penchant for speaking his mind. It takes no special level of intelligence to realise that the JFF has become a poor replica of what it was as we are now poised to become the laughing stock of our Caribbean neighbours, who once saw us as their role model.
The situation, which caused Beckford to criticise Burrell, would appear to be the doing of the JFF. The man was asked to give his assessment of the JFF and he said how he felt, which I believe every honest person should do in a similar situation.
The fact that his assessment did not please the JFF boss should be inconsequential because the man was asked to do something and he did it. So, to punish him is like telling him that criticising the president is out of bounds.
While I can understand Burrell being stung by Beckford's assessment of his leadership, I am saddened that the persons who made the decision could not see the wisdom in what Beckford said.
It is against that background that I continue to question the national loyalty of those parish associations' presidents, who benefit from a sponsorship arrangements with the Captain's Bakery.
I believe they are so worried about losing their sponsorship that they believe it is in their best interest to protect Burrell at all costs.
I believe the credibility of the JFF has been compromised by the Captain's Bakery sponsorship. If we are serious about rediscovering the glory of Jamaica's football, we should not be in a position where we feel handcuffed when it comes to speaking out.
While I seriously doubt that Beckford will get anywhere with his appeal, I am encouraged to go forward nonetheless. He needs to confront those who made the decision and ask them why. I am serious no one will bold enough to admit it is because they feel Burrell is off-limits when it comes to criticism.