Wed | Aug 21, 2019

Gordon Robinson | Unchain my heart

Published:Tuesday | October 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Phoenix Academy founder Craig Butler (centre) and standout players, his sons Leon Bailey (left) and Kyle Butler.

I have a word of advice for the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF). Well, four words, really.

Leave Leon Bailey alone. Let him pursue his worldwide commercial interests to his heart's content. Don't invite him to join the Reggae Boyz. Ever. Again. I consulted sports-wagering guru The Terrible Tout. His prediction is that if Leon Bailey joins the Boyz, it'll be an unmitigated disaster, and Jamaica's chances of qualifying for the next World Cup could disappear.

It seems, based on Gleaner reports, that the everlasting courtship of Leon Bailey by the JFF finally bore fruit, only for the fruit to turn rotten upon Bailey's arrival with demands regarding his brother's selection to the side.

He was quoted as saying: "I came to Jamaica because of the international call-up. I did agree to come based on the agreement we had. But when I got here, it was a totally different scenario. They didn't keep their end [of the deal]. Therefore, I decided not to play this game."

Seriously? What agreement? A retainer contract? Did the JFF not pay a promised advance?

Noooooooooo. He wanted his brother picked:

"By this November, if they're willing to go ahead with whatever we've asked ... I'll be ready to represent my country. It (Kyle's snub by the JFF) is a big part of it. I need players who can understand me. You can't expect me to jump in a system and expect it to work. I need help. I'm a winner, a Phoenix, and I don't like losing, so I need people who I know are capable of making things happen."

Hands up those who can count the number of 'I's in that quote! SEVEN!! In. Six. Sentences.

"You made me cry

when you said goodbye.

Ain't that a shame?

My tears fell like rain.

Ain't that a shame?

You're the one to blame.

You broke my heart

when you said we'll part."

Sometimes you pour heart and soul into a relationship you believe is real only to discover you're being used to further the other's ambitions. It's heart-breaking. But the only option is to accept the relationship as fake and end it despite the emotional pain.

Leon, 'team' is NEVER spelled with an 'I'. He pressed on:

"One person by himself cannot do it. I'll need support from good players, and I know good players because I grew up playing with good players, and I now play with good players, and all I'm asking for is a few things, and they can't resolve that. So if they can't help me, I won't be able to help them. It's in their hands ... ."

Sigh. Six more 'I's. One 'me'! Obviously, what one person can't do alone is further his own football career. Leon isn't interested in what he can do for the Reggae Boyz, he's interested in what the Reggae Boyz can do for HIM. Time for the JFF to recognise that its love is unrequited.

Unchain my heart, baby, let me be.

Unchain my heart because you don't care about me.

You've got me sewed up like a pillowcase,

But you let my love go to waste,

So unchain my heart, oh, please, please, set me free!

Antoine 'Fats' Domino and Dave Bartholomew wrote Ain't that a Shame. Fats' original 1955 recording was mistitled on the 45rpm Ain't it a Shame, but the song didn't come to national prominence until it was covered by white balladeer Pat Boone, who wanted to change the name to 'Isn't it a shame'. Ugh. Boone's cover only succeeded in making Fats' recording more popular than his.

Unchain my Heart, written by Bobby Sharp, recorded by genius Ray Charles (1961), tells of a woman who embeds herself in a man's heart to the extent that he can't separate her.

The JFF should take care it doesn't find itself chained to Leon Bailey so tightly that when it must let him go, it's impossible.

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to