Batsman Darren Bravo axed over tweet ... Given deadline to apologise
West Indies cricket was once again rocked by controversy yesterday when batting star Darren Bravo was controversially sent home ahead of the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe after the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) sensationally cancelled his match/tour contract over a contentious tweet deemed "disparaging" to president Dave Cameron.
And in a letter to the player dated November 11, the board also gave Bravo until 3 p.m. (Jamaica time) yesterday to apologise for his actions and to remove the offending tweet from his Twitter account.
Failure to do so, the WICB said, could result "in further disciplinary action, including referral to the WICB disciplinary committee".
Bravo, who was part of the camp in Potchefstroom, did not travel to Harare with the remainder of the squad yesterday. Instead, he headed for his native Trinidad and Tobago.
A subsequent WICB release yesterday said Bravo had been dropped "due to inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour which is contrary to his contractual obligations to the WICB".
This was in reference to Bravo's outburst via online social networking service, Twitter, when he slammed Cameron for comments critical of his recent batting performances.
Speaking on regional sports channel, SportsMax, earlier in the week, Cameron said Bravo had been offered only a Grade C retainer contract because of his "poor performance" and declining averages.
"His averages in the last two years have been declining, so what do you do? Reward poor performance or do you encourage him to get better?" Cameron said.
In response, Bravo tagged Cameron via his Twitter handle, @davec51, as he tweeted: "You hav been failing 4 d last 4yrs. Y don't u resign and FYI I've neva been given an A contract. Big idiot."
Bravo's caustic response prompted a formal letter from the WICB, informing the player that his comments constituted a breach of the terms of his match/tour contract and that the contract would also be cancelled.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by CMC Sports, told Bravo his tweet had "disparaged" the WICB president and was "contrary to your contractual obligations to the WICB".
"We would expect, as a senior West Indian cricketer, that you would recognise that your decision to vent your frustrations online, as well as to denigrate the president of the WICB, was inappropriate and unacceptable, as well as contrary to your contractual obligations to the WICB," said the letter, which was signed by director of cricket Richard Pybus.
"In particular, we draw your attention to your agreement (in clause 126.96.36.199 of your match/tour contract) not to make any statement in or to any form of media (which shall include, without limitation, print media, television, radio, Internet or any social networking media), or any other public statement, which would bring yourself, WICB or any official or authorised representative of WICB or the game of cricket into disrepute and your agreement to use all such media in a responsible manner.
"In addition, clause 9.3.1 of your match/tour contract provides that in default by you in respect of your obligations under the contract, WICB may in its absolute discretion cancel this contract by written notice to the cricketer.
"In light, therefore, of your breach of your obligations to WICB in clause 188.8.131.52 of your match/tour contract, this letter serves as written notice that your match/tour contract is hereby cancelled."
In addition to ending the player's involvement in the tour, the WICB also ordered Bravo to "immediately remove" the offending tweet from his Twitter account and to issue an apology via the same medium.
"We also request that you immediately remove the highlighted tweet from your account and desist from tweeting about WICB officials in the future," the letter said.
"We further request that you acknowledge, via your Twitter account, the impropriety of your actions and your recognition that your decision to publicly express your views on social media was not conduct befitting of a West Indies cricketer.
"I strongly discourage you from continuing to use Twitter or other social networking sites in a manner which might cause embarrassment to the West Indies cricket team, the West Indies Cricket Board or any officials of the West Indies Cricket Board, which can potentially bring the game into disrepute."
Bravo has been replaced in the squad by fellow Trinidadian Jason Mohammed, while leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo has been called up to replace off-spinner Sunil Narine, who has withdrawn from the party for "personal reasons".
West Indies face hosts Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in the tournament, which runs from November 14-27.