Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A THORNY ISSUE – Give contrite kicker a break


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Saying sorry is the most noble gesture and the biggest step you can take when you admit to being wrong in a situation.
To say it privately is one thing but to say it publicly on national television is another ball game. You have to be pretty big to do it.
It’s in this respect that I have to give banned basketballer Ricardo Yearwood full marks.
It is well known that the Station Hill Cavaliers player was banned for life by the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) for kicking his cougars opponent Keith Mayers in a Premier League game.
Since then emotions have been fever-pitched on many fronts as the Cavaliers believe the ban is excessive and others think the time suits “the crime”.
In the midst of it all, I can only imagine the pressure Yearwood would have been feeling, not to mention the advice some would have been offering.
In fact, it was reported that Yearwood allegedly stared down BABA president Derrick Garrett at a game and the matter was reported to the Police.
The victim of Yearwood’s action, Keith Mayers, has had to face a different type of pressure.
He has been taunted and jeered by those who saw the funny side of Yearwood’s kick which has even been posted on You Tube and Facebook.
He showed his frustration at the Gymnasium on Saturday night when he lost his cool after being heckled by a section of the crowd.
It has not been easy for either player.
At least, in retrospect, Yearwood admitted guilt and showed remorse even when there was talk of litigation being considered with the intent of overturning the ban.
In these instances, who feels it knows it and you still have to walk that proverbial valley all alone.
Apparently, in taking that walk Yearwood decided that an apology would have been the right thing to do.
I am not going to second guess his reasons but I accept what seems to be a genuine attempt to bring some closure to the matter.
While I am not going to be self-righteous about the issue, I believe we still have to take responsibility for our actions.
Acting in the heat of the moment is not unusual in competitive sport, especially where there is contact, but once you react impulsively you can expect some form of sanction.
This is the position Yearwood finds himself in and there is a price to be paid. However, I think a life ban is excessive and it ought to be reviewed once the processes for such are followed to the letter.
It is not to anyone’s benefit to head to Coleridge Street but I do respect an individual’s prerogative to seek what is considered natural justice in whatever forum provides the opportunity.
I have the greatest respect for the integrity of those who would have imposed the punishment on Yearwood but they are only human too, so I think their judgement could have been clouded because they, too, would have been under pressure to deal with the matter expeditiously and firmly.
It is very likely that except for those who support Yearwood, the country was angered and outraged by the graphic replay of the incident.
If any of us sitting in judgement of Yearwood was overwhelmed by emotion, it is possible that we would hand down the same sentence.
In hindsight, though, with less adrenalin flowing, I believe cooler heads would rethink their position and would still be able to get their message across that indiscipline of any nature will not be tolerated.
Yearwood has shown remorse; I believe the BABA can be a lot more lenient in return. The ball is now in their court.
 Andi Thornhill is sports editor of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.

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