Western Grandstand : JADCO badly needs a ‘chill pill’
In recent times, I am becoming increasingly sceptical about the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCo), especially in regards to its role to 'help' our athletes to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code.
While I am not asking JADCO to treat its other obligations in a cavalier manner, I believe its antagonistic approach, which many of our athletes have found intimidating, is not the way to go.
For example, I am quite puzzled by JADCO's assertion that it wants to appeal the one-year ban imposed on Jamaica and West Indies star cricketer Andre Russell, claiming it wants to see the ban, which is for a whereabouts rule violation, extended from one year to the maximum two years.
Personally, based on what I have read about Russell's case, I believe he got a raw deal because, in my opinion, missing a drug test is not the same as testing positive for a banned substance, especially if there is no evidence to suggest that the athlete was trying to be evasive.
I believe if JADCO is really serious about helping our athletes to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code, no effort should have been spared in seeking to track down Russell, who was busy all over the world playing high-profile Twenty20 tournaments, which would have made it easy to locate him.
I believe it is bordering on immoral for JADCO to just sit back and watch the violation taking place, to ultimately end up in a position to flex their muscles against athletes, which in the case of Russell, leaving him without his primary source of income for at least a year.
OTHER POSSIBLE BANS
That leads me to the current situation with track athletes Kaliese Spencer and Riker Hylton, who are both facing four-year bans for allegedly violating article 2.3 of the JADCO's anti-doping rules 2015, which has to do with an athlete "evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection".
Having heard Hylton's explanation and the stern rejection of the charges by Spencer's camp, I can't help but wonder if they too are not being set up to become victims of what appears to be significant inflexibility by JADCo.
On account of my mounting frustration with what the way JADCo conducts its affairs, I decided to visit the organisation's website to get an insight into how it should operate. What I found left me wondering whether the organisation is fully up to its responsibilities.
It would be interesting to hear their explanation for the following quote: "The main functions of JADCO include the deterrence of doping through communication and education initiatives, the detection of doping through testing activities and investigations and the enforcement of anti-doping rules, by presenting cases of possible Anti-Doping Rule Violations to the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel."
While it seems quite clear that JADCO relishes the 'enforcement' aspect, I can't say that I am seeing the same effort in projecting the 'communication and education' components, which is a key element if JADCO wants our athletes to be in compliance, which would also limit the scope for acrimony.