ON Sunday, May 13, 2012 the Jamaica Observer published an article which had the caption 'When Lara Dissed Mandela'. The article was in relation to the 1998 tour of South Africa by the West Indies cricket team and the strike of the West Indies players prior to the tour taking place.
Mr Patrick Rousseau mentioned what he considered to be an incident relating to a letter sent by Mr Nelson Mandela, the then South African president, to Mr Brian Lara in which he was seeking to urge players to proceed with the tour. The article attributed certain comments made by Mr Rousseau in which he stated that Lara showed disrespect to Mr Mandela by failing to acknowledge the letter.
We are satisfied that the comments attributed to Mr Rousseau are not correct. Mr Lara, upon receiving the letter from Mr Mandela, referred it to Mr Courtney Walsh, who was the president of the West Indies Players' Association, and Mr David Holford, the chief executive officer. After that, a meeting took place amongst all the players and they decided unanimously, after considering the contents of Mr Mandela's letter, to proceed with the tour.
Further, Mr Courtney Walsh issued a statement on behalf of all the team members indicating their desire to proceed with the tour and embraced the reasons contained in Mr Mandela's letter, why the tour of South Africa should take place.
We are satisfied, based on the facts, that Mr Nelson Mandela was not in any way disrespected by Mr Lara and in the circumstances, the Jamaica Observer and Mr Patrick Rousseau unreservedly apologise for the title of the article and the statements contained therein and both the Jamaica Observer and Mr Rousseau apologise for any inconvenience and embarrassment that the article may have caused to Mr Lara.