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Calabar apologies for O'Hara faux pas

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2015 | 12:00 AMShayne Fairman

Chairman of Calabar High School's board, the Reverend Karl Johnson, says while sponsors are necessary for the development of Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships, he does not support guerrilla marketing and did not give star athlete Michael O'Hara approval to unveil a shirt bearing Digicel's 'Be Extraordinary' tag line.

The controversial incident occurred when the sprinter and Calabar captain, arguably the most outstanding athlete at Champs 2015, pulled down his Calabar shirt and revealed an undershirt after winning the Class One 200m on Saturday.

O'Hara told The Gleaner on Monday that he had spoken to Johnson prior to Champs and was given words of encouragement.


a celebratory move


"My chairman and I had a talk a week before Champs saying that ordinary people do extraordinary things every day ... . And I said to myself that I am an extraordinary person, so I just lifted my shirt and showed the crowd that O'Hara is extraordinary," the athlete had told The Gleaner.

"My chairman and I talked about it, so I figured everything was good," O'Hara also said during Calabar's Champs victory celebration.

Johnson has since insisted that he did not know of the athlete's plan to unveil any sponsor's tag line.

"At no point was it suggested I knew of his endorsement. I knew when the whole thing blew up, and at no point did I get involved in a personal matter such as that," he said yesterday.

"I don't get involved in their (athletes') personal affairs," he added.

"Thanks to the sponsors, because events like these need support. (However) sponsors should remember they don't own events; they are sponsors," Johnson underlined.

Calabar has since expressed regret over the incident.

The school indicated that it has started putting measures in place to ensure school ambassadors do not engage in such practices at future events.