A serious sports enthusiast, I was an Olympic Games junkie. I sat for hours in front of the television and watched sport after sport, living vicariously through the athletes. Appreciating fully the sacrifice, dedication and discipline that each athlete at the games had to endure to reach, let alone medal in the games.
I therefore had full sympathy for the two athletes who got kicked out of the games for tweets. For crying out loud! Not for doping, not for fighting, but simply for not being responsible enough to keep their commentary (albeit stupid) to themselves.
Remember the French superstar Zinedine Zidane in the world cup when he lost it and head butted Marco Materazzi in the chest for his alleged offensive comments. He subsequently received a red card and three game suspension from FIFA; before retiring from his excellent football career. Even though I was annoyed with Zidane for his foolish act, I cried because he was my favourite footballer at the time and I was empathetic to his situation as I too have been in and witnessed a similar situation.
Several years ago while representing Barbados against St. Lucia in a netball tournament, my goal defence at the time got into a fight with the St. Lucia’s goal attack because of offensive comments between players. Both players were subsequently suspended for a year.
For some athletes like Zidane playing sports is also their livelihood. People say and do stupid things all the time, and yes they need to take responsibility for their comments and actions but I find taking their dream completely away to be too harsh! Find another way to discipline!
Talking about sportsmanship. Most sports persons would try a trick or two if they felt that they could get away with it. Even the umpires at times overlook minor infractions from superstars or their secret favourite team.
Let us play the sports in the water, on the roads, on the sand, on the track, in the gyms, on the fields and the courts. Let’s not be carried away with the politics.
By the way Congratulations to all the Caribbean Athletes for a wonderful performance!