No bleachas roun here - Reggae Boyz manager

June 07, 2017
Portmore United's Maalique Foster (right), in a tussle for the ball with Arnett Gardens' Jabeur Johnson, is among the players, who could be burnt by the national team's 'no bleachers' policy.
Reggae Boyz team manager Roy Simpson


REGGAE BOYZ team manager Roy Simpson yesterday stopped just short of saying players who 'bleach' will not be selected to play for the national team.

Simpson, responding to STAR Sports queries about rumblings that players who use bleaching agents to lighten their skin tone would be not be considered, said the issue was "a concern".

"We are talking about deportment and image. You must have certain standards and understand the importance of image and deportment at this level, and part of image is how you physically look, not just what you wear," he said.

Simpson added that though the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), does not intend to try to stop players from bleaching, the issue is, "an indication that you lack self-belief, self-confidence and self-esteem, because it is obvious that you are not comfortable with yourself".

However, executive director, Jamaicans For Justice, Horace Levy, said the JFF cannot lay down any mandate barring persons they believe are bleaching from being a part of the team.

"It is discrimination on the basis of colour, as it is stated in the Constitution," said Levy.

Simpson, though, was adamant that bleachers expecting to be part of the team do so at their own risk, claiming such players would be essentially selecting themselves by their actions or, better yet, complexion.


Deeper concern


"We will select you but, when you come in and we explain what we are looking for, and you are afforded the time, we will say this is what we expect and what we believe if you are willing to partner with us. If over a period a time we say this, and we don't see them working with us, then they have made a choice," he said.

Simpson said there was a deeper concern that players were not willing to train adequately because of fears of exposure to the sun. He claimed that the behaviour of players assumed to be involved in the practice prevented them from being fully committing to training.

"What we do know is that when a player is bleached and they have eroded their pigmentation, in training they have issues with the afternoon session and heading a ball, because it is not so much about the talent or playing, it is 'how I look and how do I preserve that image', and so 'I don't want a ball to slap me in the face' and so 'I don't want to erode that look'," he explained.

Levy agreed that the JFF had the right regulate how its team trains, which would not be discriminatory to a player who bleaches.

"For instance, they can say they must practice a certain number of hours, whether in the sun or not," he said.

Meanwhile, Simpson said the JFF had also got medical advice, which suggested that bleaching was unhealthy.

"We are going to put out something in terms of what, medically, doctors are saying. We are saying it, not because we don't like it, but because discussions with our doctors suggest it may have serious medical implications," he said.

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