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?
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.
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.
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.