Jamaican athletes blow chance of medal over uniform row


Where the Jamaican athletes at IAAF World Championships London August 2017  had a sporting chance to win a medal deteriorates to an unsporting brawl!

Why would the Jamaican women athletes fight over their uniform just before the 4×400 metre relay?

Stephenie-Ann McPherson. Credit to Getty Images.



It can be said for lawyers, accountants, builders, physicians, engineers & other defined professions that they are regulated. However there appears to be no ethical code of conduct for professional athletes. The nearest especially in certain States of the US is a code of conduct for sports agents. However it is usually the code of the agents original profession that is inferred. For example sports agents may be governed by their regulatory body of which they are already a member. For example, in the case of a sports agent in the U.K. who is a solicitor or a barrister , then the regulatory body would be The Law Society or The Bar Council respectively.
However there is occasionally the case of an athlete who is a member of a players association of which it may have its own code of ethics.

But what of the Jamaican team and their clubs?
MVP Track club- Jamaica – standing for ‘Maximising Velocity & Performance’ – appears to have no comprehensive objectives or guide.
JN Racers- who sports as a member the legend Usain Bolt, provides objectives such as to ‘ produce athletes performing at world class standards.’ And to ‘provide guidance for athletes for total personal development ….’

So what went wrong at the IAAF World Athletics Championship?
I understand that Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Shericka Jackson got into an altercation over their uniform. This is hard to fathom given that the uniform is the same for all the team. I understand that the runners needed to be separated by the technical leader Donald Quarrie -The proud gold medalist at 200 metres for Jamaica in the summer 1976 Montreal Olympics. This by far is not his only success story- but I digress.

Was it a brawl on who looks the most fine or who looks hot or to my young Jamaican followers, who looks the most ‘haute’ ?. No matter what the reason it was unprofessional.

Shericka Jackson. Credit image to Zimbio.com


Although there is not a centrally codified and distributed central professional code of conduct. There is little doubt that much is expected of persons acting on behalf of athletes and those professional athletes themselves.

Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby receives medical help at IAAF London . Credit image to Rediff.com

So what should we do to deter such reprehensible behaviour? How should we ensure that in the future there is some element of accountability?

There should be in place a governing code of regulations for Athletes like that of FIFA – the Federation of Association Football. This would provide sanctions and disciplinary codes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Why wouldn’t there be atleast a fine or (like that in football) there be points deducted and if considered serious enough, then a suspension or even expulsion from the competition?

Don Quarrie reported to the press that although he didn’t recall exactly the details of the altercation about the uniform, it was the coach , namely Paul Francis who said that Shericka could not run the 400 metres, because she had (strange as it sounded) injured herself from the short walk from the hotel to the London stadium.

Why would Mr Francis encourage such ridiculous behaviour?
However, neither the coach nor Shericka Jackson were interrogated regarding the self-destructive behaviour as members of the Jamaican professional athletic team.
In my humble opinion, a strong signal needs to be sent to the Jamaican athletes and all professional athletes, whom have no determined set of regulations.
A regulatory system for all athletes must be debated and introduced with lightning Bolt.

A legend- Usain Bolt. Credit image to The Source.

17 thoughts on “Jamaican athletes blow chance of medal over uniform row

  1. Ooooh! Well said Antoinette!! and to the point, too. That said… maybe had they put half the girly brawling energy into racing energy-they may well have won. ???? So, had the ‘conduct code’ been put in place back then, we would all be the wiser. Now wouldn’t we? – what a soooorrry excuse for not running!!! Tutt tut! ? But boy!…am I going to miss Bolt ⚡️ ?? ???❤️

    1. Great fantastic love it ,true to every word. Keep up the good work we need more positive efforts to set standards. Keep up the good march we will get there soon.

        1. Antoinette I was just about to suggest that!!! Great minds think alike?? Go for it!! An independent, interested but unconnected eye may be just what they need!. A code of conduct and appropriate sanctions are definitely required

          1. Thank you Megan. I will make a point of meeting with the powers that be at the MVP Track Club and the JN Racers the next time I am back in Jamaica. I will obviously liaise with you and exploit your contacts to assist in making the meetings happen ??.

  2. @AntoinetteOlivia, If wasn’t so destructive, it’d be amusing or even hugely comedic. However, I’m still wondering what is alleged to have happened? Did the runners brawl because one claimed she looked better than the other? Did then one of them not run/compete as a result, leaving officials to make excuses for them? Was it a case of “girls just wanna look pretty”?

    1. Hey Laz. I am not clear of the details of the altercation, but what appeared to be abundantly clear, was that Shericka Jackson (one of the party in the altercation) did not run as planned. Anneisha McLaughlin ran in her place. The question is whether Anneisha was sufficiently warmed up & ready given that her falling was similar to that of Usain Bolt in the men’s 100m final. The reason I understand – was cramp. The excuse that Shericka made was that she was injured and instead of her coach telling her to fulfil her commitment as a professional team athlete, and run, the coach merely accommodated her apparent obstinance and supported her refusal to run.
      As you know Laz girls always want to look pretty, and so they should, but there is an overriding duty of professionalism for the sport & Jamaica ??.

  3. I’m glad you addressed this issue in the context of a disappointing Jamaican performance at the World Championships. This issue seems to be one of personal discipline as the IAAF has rules governing the conduct of athletes and the business of athletics.

    When there is a breakdown of discipline, chaos is not far behind. Who was the team captain, the head coach, the team manager and where were they in all of this? There needs to be a review and a disciplinary hearing so we can get Team Jamaica back on the path to greatness.

    The world has caught up and Jamaica was complacent on the back of a brilliant Olympic performance. This always happens to great teams who think they’ve arrived after a major victory. Time after time we see this in the NBA, NFL, Premiership football, etc. So it’s back to the drawing board Jamaica, because we have the talent but the hunger must always remain. There are records to be broken and new legends to be made but that dirty word ‘work’ has to be central to our efforts.

    And dare I saw that we need a team wardrobe manager?

    1. Well said Paul.?
      A team wardrobe manager may have reduced the chance of a brawl regarding the uniform.
      The IAAF does have rules and regulations, but as said, there is a requirement for personal discipline which is why, I discussed codes and regulations of the individual athletes. In my opinion, I believe that the athletes tend to rely respectively on their individual players associations.
      I understand, the coach for Shericka Jackson chose not to encourage her to run. The coach failed to call into question, what injury could Ms Jackson have incurred from the short walk from the hotel?
      Instead, the coach chose to support what appears to be a weak excuse, by not insisting that she fulfilled her commitment. Perhaps there were those who tried to be the voice of reason, and encourage Sherika to run, and further remind her of her duty to athletics and Jamaica. Or perthaps there were those in the tent whom had the biggest ego, whom actually won the argument- ridiculous!!
      Although the damage has already been done, like you say Paul a disciplinary hearing will at least address the issue – which most people outside the Jamaican tent are unaware. Also it would provide accountability and consequential sanctions. Thank you Paul for your contribution. ??

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