Sunday, May 26, 2019
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National sports leader criticizes and complains a whole lot in private

I field numerous calls and online messages regarding the state of sports affairs in the country.

At the outset, let me acknowledge being one of the imperfect sports leaders in an imperfect world. I have that stand-up character though that gives me comfort whether I’m the target of criticisms, for views expressed, or on the receiving end of compliments.

At this moment in time in Bahamian sports history, more stand-up personalities are needed if we are to maximize the national sports brand.

There are some major problems with our sports system. It is the responsibility of the Bahamas Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports to steer the relevant stakeholders along a progressive and transparent pathway. Recently within various sports pockets, especially on New Providence and Grand Bahama, criticisms have been flying about with consistency.

I have been amazed at the vitriol-laced comments that have been expressed and put online for the world to see. I refer to highly disrespectful comments. There was a particular view expressed, actually referring to someone as a “fool”, which has no place in public discussions. I hereby call upon those who monitor/manage sports chat lines, and others, to insist upon decent and respectful dialogue.

In a civil society, we agree to disagree and accept that all are entitled to viewpoints, no matter how they differ. It was sort of shocking to see the language, seemingly accepted widely, because there were no chastising responses. No one is above criticism, but the comment was out of order. It was uncivil and ill-mannered. I don’t believe the architect of the chat line in question favors such an approach but it appears the situation has gotten out of hand. At times, it becomes a forum for personal agendas.

There is another sports chat that I am privy to and the founder is proactive. He has been known to chide individuals and he has even resorted to blocking.

Some might think him extreme but he functions in a manner that demands respect. He constantly reminds his associates of the true purpose of the chat.

I am proud to number Kermit Romer as a friend and decades-long sports colleague. He is dealing with health challenges presently, but remains steadfast in maintaining civil order on his forum, respect for all and sundry.

I encourage the heavy sports dialogue that is going on these days, as a result of the online forums. Although inaccurate information must be guarded against, a lot of sports data, past and present, are now being provided.

This is a pivotal point in Bahamian sports history.

The suggestion is that we all pay strong attention to our deportment while negotiating the many terrains within the national sports fraternity.

To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmil.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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