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WI players action was a matter of time

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Dirt Under the Nails

I had a friend ask me about my opinion on the current hot topic of sports. Yes, the issue surrounding our West Indies players, WIPA and WICB. 

My response? To my friend’s surprise and eventual frustration with me, he learned that I was somewhat nonchalant of the whole thing. Most people will probably accuse me of being more sympathetic of the plights of the athlete, and they might be correct in this regard but to my own credit, I am usually able to still distinguish between the emotional and the rational while keeping in mind that to every action there is a reaction and we are all familiar with Newton’s law.

When asked my thoughts on this scenario, I express one that addresses the two aspects to it. There is the civil and/or professional way of handling it via due process which would remove the emotion. Unfortunately, with the tournament knocking at the door to start and player earnings being the point of contention a heightened sense of urgency made way for more assertive exchanges to take place.

Then there is the history. It is no secret that relations between the players and WICB have always been littered with controversy and tension. Everything was in the news from the selection process to player conduct on the field. Hilaire’s mention of signed contracts filled with ambiguous language would have only served to foster the already poor relationship. 

So when asked what I think of the whole thing, my response is “It was just a matter of time.” 

The world of sport is progressing and the reality is that this region has not done a good job of keeping up with that opportunity. Instead, we have chosen to exist in the grays of reality instead of the clarity of black and white to the detriment of healthy relations. 

Those of us who work and operate in the sports industry from athlete to administrator become exposed to the international standards of conducting and structuring business in sport. As such, we move to raise the standard of expectations of ourselves and of our contractors, becoming less patient with resistance to improving the local climate.

There is a saying that if you take care of the small stuff, the bigger stuff takes care of itself. At this stage, the only way that this climate can really change is by working on building a relationship of mutual respect. Avoid thinking too far down the road but dealing with the current issues. 

The value of the sports industry has been something that has been underestimated in this region and yet the WICB faces the possibility of a $64 million lawsuit being filed against them by the BCCI—such is the earning potential of the sports industry. How the sport will recover from such a blow will be quite interesting to see but maybe this is what it takes for people to wake up and stop justifying the reasons for silly shortfalls.

On the heels of the international humiliation of our national women’s football team (the topic of my last column), this would be what happens some two weeks later. One could conclude that there is a cultural problem that exists within the region. 

Regardless, if the region continues to be presented in this sort of immensely negative light in the international media, what sort of challenges are we going to be bringing onto ourselves in the future for our region and for our athletes.

It really is time for those in authority to really appreciate a broader perspective of where things have reached for sport in this region in a serious way. As of late, we seem to be starting to reap the unprofessionalism that has been sown into the seams of our industry. 

Start handling the industry by international standards, send worthy professionals for needed training, institute accountability, pay people what they are worth—do the little things and the bigger things will take care of themselves.

Asha De Freitas-Moseley is a certified athletic trainer with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association of the USA. She has over 11 years of experience rehabilitating athletes and members of the active population from injury to full play. She can be reached at Pulse Performance Ltd, located at #17 Henry Pierre Street, St James. Tel: 221-2437.


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