No hard feelings! - Russell taking no pleasure in Carey Brown-JADCO rift
Jamaica and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell said that he does not take pleasure in the prospective termination of Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) Executive Director Carey Brown's contract.
JADCO's board had terminated Brown's contract in September, citing a loss of confidence in his ability to carry out his role. However, a legal injunction has seen him continuing his role until a ruling has been made by the courts.
Russell's whereabouts violations occurred under Brown's tenure as executive director, and during his hearing before the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary panel in 2016, his legal representatives had argued that the three violations were because of JADCO's own negligence in notifying him about the proper submission procedures.
The 29-year-old - who is currently serving the final weeks of a one-year ban imposed for three whereabouts violations, which is treated similarly to a failed drug test under World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines - said that having to serve time away from his job as a cricketer, he would not wish the same fate for someone else who also has a family to take care of.
"To be honest, I'm a strong believer in God based on how I was grown," Russell told The Gleaner. "I go to church, and I pray and I just left everything in the hands of God.
"I never wished bad for Carey Brown. I took my punishment and I moved on. A lot of people called and messaged me saying, 'Hey, you heard what happened to Carey Brown?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I heard the news,' but I don't want anyone to be out of a job.
"He has a family and he's doing his job. But the way he handle athletes' situations, I just think he needed to be punished for that, but I'm not gonna say that he should lose his job. I don't wish bad for people, and we're all human beings."
Russell said that while serving his ban, he felt a sense of anger as he felt targeted by JADCO for no apparent reason.
"I didn't disrespect JADCO in any way, so getting this kinda treatment, after all I did for the country, was harsh," he shared. "I don't do drugs; I'm a fair athlete. I work hard, I train hard, I do everything that I need to do to get the job done.
"I did feel upset about the situation because these guys (JADCO) are Jamaicans, and we're fighting against our own. I think one year of me missing out on cricket and getting the punishment that I deserve for not updating my whereabouts on time, I blame myself for all of that. I did accept the one-year ban, but when they said that I should have gotten two years and they're gonna appeal it, I'm happy everyone who stepped in [including my lawyers] did. I'm just happy that they squashed it and it didn't go any further."
Based on the terms of his ban, Russell is allowed to resume training two months before its end, meaning he had returned to the nursery of the St Catherine Cricket Club on December 1. He mentioned feeling frustrated waiting to get back to playing competitive cricket.
"It was a challenge to the mind, to know that you're practising every day and you have no cricket to play. It's kinda like you're training in vain, but because I'm a professional and know what I have to do, I just went about it. I didn't practise every day, but I just did enough to keep my body in shape, so when the time comes closer, I wouldn't be far off."