Follow The Trace | Strange, dubious, vindictive
Strange, dubious, vindictive, envious are but a few of the more decent adjectives being used to describe the possible motives of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission's (JADCO) decision to appeal the one-year ban handed down by the independent disciplinary panel to cricketer Andre Russell for his anti-doping rule violation.
The consensus across Jamaica seems to be loud and clear, JADCO is being excessive and overbearing in its quest to 'get' the top-flight all-rounder. Russell himself admitted he is distraught, confused and befuddled by the apparent 'witch-hunt', after being resigned to serving the designated one-year punishment for his indiscretions.
It is nothing short of puzzling as to what the exact motives of JADCO are in appealing the initial one-year suspension, in search of the two-year maximum. Is it another case of the 'house slave' pandering to his masters? Could it conceivably be old-fashioned 'Jamaican badmind'?
After all, Russell has certainly done very well for himself from his exploits on the cricket pitch and he is arguably the most successful Twenty20 cricketer in the world, having played key roles in the winning of every elite franchise title on show, achievements which no doubt allow him to command lucrative deals in the vibrant T20 open market.
A poor boy from St Catherine who has come good, daring to scoff at and ignore the beck and call of the master's representatives. When he was finally nabbed by the long arm of the law, It was time to remind Russell that he is from the wrong side of the fence, not just by administering punishment commensurate with the crime, but by sinking their claws into his flesh, gouging out his eyes, emasculating and reminding him that he is nothing but a 'lucky boy', who must know his place and get back in line. Remnants of the old slave plantation, only this time the masters are all Jamaicans, and all blacks.
This attitude is much more widespread in Jamaica than we all care to admit. The trendy 'Jamaica' no problem t-shirts, and the platitudinous spouting of that famous 'one love' clichÈ aside. There remain visible and not so visible lines of social and class division.
Our big sports stars and entertainers, through their international success, have elevated themselves financially, but let us not fool ourselves. The Usain Bolt experience in his town house complex was one such reminder that Russell's prolonged troubles, in this case, is but another.
The irony is that some of these very same Jamaicans who perpetuate these divisions, sit on their verandahs or on their town house balconies and with every sip of wine, they question the rebellious and often vicious pushback of the young generation. They do not realise that the seeds for much of this viciousness is sewn in the very same attitude that seeks to unjustifiably suppress and keep them and their heroes like Russell in check. Honest, hard-working and successful Jamaican heroes should be celebrated, and not crucified without just cause.
The Andre Russell saga provides good teachable moments for those who wish to learn. It intertwines the best of us as a people with the worst of us as a people. A young Jamaican who climbed up the ladder of his chosen field, coming face to face with the proverbial crab in the barrel element that seeks to check his progress. That is the reality that rips at the heart of our contemporary existence. This is Jamaica, land we are all supposed to love; but tell that to Russell who, it appears, is being punished not just for his mistakes, but also for his success.