Wed | Aug 16, 2017

The Wright View: JADCO need to come clean

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2016 | 3:00 AM
Andre Russell during the West Indies training session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

An American writer, Kenneth Graham, once said: "The strongest human instinct is to impart information. The second strongest is to resist it."

I am reminded of that quote as I try to make sense of the news that came out on March 2 this year, when chairman of the disciplinary tribunal of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commis-sion (JADCO), Kent Pantry, said he had received notification two weeks prior that Jamaica and West Indies T20 cricketer, Andre Russell, had missed three drug tests in 12 months.

Pantry told the media that he had appointed a disciplinary tribunal to hear the case. This has serious repercussions for the athlete, and indeed Jamaica and the West Indies cricket team, now in the Far East preparing for the T20 World Cup.

Since then, I have not heard an 'official word' from JADCO re this very serious case, other than the fact that he has not been suspended, so he is free to continue playing until his case is heard.

When the present chairman of JADCO was appointed (Danny Williams) two years ago, I distinctly remember him stating that transparency would be the order of the day and that a liaison officer would be appointed to keep the media informed regarding the important work of his association.

His remarks were necessary because the previous chairman, Dr Herb Elliott, was criticised by many (including this newspaper) about his penchant for coy and unhelpful statements. I was sure that the 'new' JADCO would be not only new, but different.

Missed tests in sports are considered a serious offence and are usually associated with severe sanctions.

When Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu missed three drug tests in a 12-month period, her excuse was that she had moved house and "messed up". This excuse was apparently not accepted and she was banned.

The same WADA rule apparently applies to athletes in other countries except Jamaica.

On August 15, 2015, Jamaican cricketer Odean Brown was reported in the press as having missed three tests and was to appear before a disciplinary tribunal headed by Pantry and included Professor Archie McDonald, head of the Department of Surgery, University Hospital of the West Indies, and cricketer Maurice Foster.

The next news via the media was that the case was postponed until September 4 as a result of a request from the lawyers involved.

To date (March 15, 2016) there is absolutely no word as to what the outcome of that hearing is.

 

COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE

 

What is known, though, is that Brown has not played a first-class cricket match since the March 16, 2015, when he played for Jamaica against the Leeward Islands.

Was Brown suspended from playing cricket, or did he voluntarily give up the sport?

Were other international athletes who missed three drug tests suspended until their case was heard?

The embattled West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has announced most definitely that Russell WILL play in the T20 World Cup. That seems to be on the basis that JADCO has not set a date for the hearing, and the WICB is certain that a hearing will not be scheduled to coincide with the dates of the tournament.

I find this to be completely unacceptable. The public of Jamaica (and indeed the world) has a right to be given information when ANY of our citizens run afoul of the rules and regulations of sports. There cannot be one rule for Odean Brown and another rule for AndrÈ Russell.

Every West Indian cricket fan, thirsty for the pleasure of watching a strong West Indies team competing in the World Cup, would like to see AndrÈ Russell play.

But the question is: Should his appearance in the competition be in defiance of the WADA code as regards missed tests?

With the present board of JADCO and its executive director refusing to even explain the Whereabouts Rule to the media and the public, speculation as to why an international star and icon would miss three scheduled drug tests in 12 months will continue. This, I do believe, will be to the detriment of the cricketer.

"The strongest human instinct is to impart information. The second strongest is to resist it."