JADCO needs to say why
This newspaper’s position on the anti-doping rules in sport is well known to our readers.
The rules, we believe, are to be observed, and athletes, as we have repeatedly stated, have a responsibility to abide by the rules.
Early last month we had reason to discuss this issue after Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Mr Andre Russell received a one-year ban for breaching anti-doping whereabouts rules. Mr Russell received the sanction because he did not file his whereabouts on three occasions during a 12-month span in 2015. That was in breach of WADA regulations which state that three filing failures during a one-year period amount to a failed test, which may attract a ban of up to 24 months.
Note should be made of the fact that Mr Russell was not punished for ingesting any banned or prohibited substance. In fact, the anti-doping disciplinary panel — comprising Chairman Mr Hugh Faulkner, Dr Marjorie Vassell, and former national cricketer Mr Dixeth Palmer — that heard Mr Russell’s case stated that his conduct did not “raise a serious suspicion” that he was “trying to avoid” being tested.
That fact, they said, helped influence their decision to slap Mr Russell with the one-year ban.
As disappointed as Mr Russell, his family, friends and supporters may have been, we suspect that they had eventually accepted the judgement and had moved on, even though he would have been worried about his ability to earn a living and take care of his family for the next 12 months.
Surprisingly, we are now hearing from the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) that it is appealing the disciplinary committee’s decision and wants the maximum penalty to be imposed on the cricketer.
The question uppermost in our mind is why?
The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission needs to tell the country, and indeed Mr Russell, what is behind this decision. Without any evidence we are unable to give an informed comment on the JADCO action. However, we are certainly not restricted in arguing that JADCO runs the risk of being seen by the public as an organisation trying to prove to the world that it is tough.
Also, the commission should not be surprised if people suspect that the decision has been influenced by something beyond the boundaries of the case.
Certainly, we believe that JADCO would want to erase any suspicion the public may have about its appeal of the one-year ban.
Any information in that regard will, we expect, be made public during the appeal hearing. We, like many other Jamaicans, await this score.