Why hurt our athletes to look good


March 04, 2017

Western Bureau:

When the Jamaican Anti-doping Commission recently found colourful globe-trotting West Indies all-rounder AndrE Russell guilty of a 'whereabouts rule violation' and slapped him with a one-year ban, I was far from happy.

While I believe that rules are critical pillars in a well-ordered society, I believe that Russell, who was constantly on the move playing T20 cricket all over the world, was a victim of miscalculation, which, to me, does not measure up to guilty without a shadow of a doubt.

Based on the global power of our star athletes, our anti-doping commission might be somewhat paranoid as they seem to be under the impression that they should always be shining like a beacon in seeking to prove to all and sundry that they are extratough and totally uncompromising even in matters that require compassion.

It is no secret that some of the so-called world powers, who are regularly playing second fiddle to us, despite having superior resources and sporting programmes, have constantly been intimating that our athletes are doing better than they should naturally.

Despite being unhappy about it, I was prepared to allow the Russell matter to slide since the violation had occurred - albeit it looked like an innocent mistake - however, following the latest development in the United States with the Olympian Dawn Harper-Nelson, I feel compelled to revise my position.

Harper-Nelson tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide and related metabolites, which should have automatically triggered a two-year ban from the sports. However, instead of handing down the recommended punishment, USADA (the US Anti-Doping Agency) decided on a mere three-month slap on the wrist.

In the case of Russell, with absolutely no proof of him being involved in anything illegal, our people kicked him out of earning a livelihood for one year while the guilty Harper-Nelson got away all but free. It is because of a similar situation with the Americans that our athletes are still out there competing against the likes of Justin Gatlin.


Personally, I would not blame sprinter Nesta Carter if at times he gets the feeling that he would have been better off being an American. I am sure the Americans would not accept the International Olympic Committee (IOC) retroactive ban on Carter for a substance that was not on the ban list when it was ingested.

When I look at the way countries like Russia and the United States treat doping violations to the point of confronting the IOC when their athletes are found guilty, if I were in AndrE Russell's shoes, I would be hopping mad for every single day of this one-year ban.

As for Carter, I strongly believe that only a 'kangaroo court' could uphold the act of injustice done to him by the IOC, so I have extremely confidence that the Court of Arbitration, to which he has appealed, will reverse the decision against him and put right the injustice against him.

Editor's note: The WADA Code places strict liability on athletes for substances found within their system as well as making their whereabouts known to doping authorities.

Other Sports Stories