Warren Weir must quit whining
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Last Saturday, the crowd at the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) erupted into loud booing whenever the name of US sprinter Ryan Bailey was called.
Last week, Bailey anchored a US 4x100 relay team to a resounding victory over Jamaica. On the same final leg as Bailey was Usain Bolt, who not only failed to run past him and win, as we have come to expect, but failed to even reduce the distance between them.
For Bailey, this was understandably a great achievement and, in his elation, he assumed Bolt's 'To Di Worl' pose and ran his finger across his throat.
We heard nothing from Bolt. But Warren Weir took it upon himself to be so upset, he decided to be so offended he started something on social media. This took on a life of its own by those of us who act without thinking.
Upon hearing this, Bailey was surprised, and emphasised that he meant no harm. But that unthinking section of the population refused to accept any explanation. So the loudest shouts in the stadium were these boos for Bailey.
My first concern is this. The Jamaica International Invitational is still in its infancy. Many international athletes who attend over the years make a point of mentioning that the main attraction to this meet is the welcoming nature of the spectators. Even Bailey said so before coming.
This meet has the potential to become a premier event on the international track and field calendar and a major boost for the country. Persons who perform, on any stage, thrive on encouragement and support from spectators. If we start to mindlessly turn off athletes with our boorishness, it could be a major setback for the JII.
Second, most of the spectators in the stands will remain just that - spectators, known only to family and friends. Mr Weir is already known internationally. As he matures, he may have something of importance to which he needs to lend his voice.
If he does not take his spikes out of his mouth before he talks, he runs the very real risk of being dismissed by thinking persons, as he will by then have earned a reputation as being shallow and thin-skinned.
Stony Hill, St Andrew