The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has expressed hope that the suspension of national footballer Junior Flemmings by the USL Championship, for the use of derogatory language, serves as a ‘teachable moment' to all players.

Flemmings, a Phoenix Academy player, was suspended for six games and fined an undisclosed sum following an investigation into allegations that he used “foul and abusive language” against a San Diego Loyal player last week.  At the start of the second half, Loyal players and staff - including their manager, United States icon Landon Donovan - returned only to take a knee before walking off the pitch.

The player, who is currently on administrative leave, could also face further punishment by the club.  The JFF, in a letter released on Thursday, expressed solidarity with the USL’s decision and disappointment with Flemmings.

 “The JFF would like to make it clear that we abhor foul, abusive, or discriminatory language. We are indeed disappointed, and we impress upon our players both locally and internationally, to be mindful of their expressions within and without a game,” the letter stated.

“Every player should use this incident as a teachable moment while they maintain professionalism even under pressure or provocation,” it added.

“We truly hope that Flemmings will quickly pick up the pieces and maintain the great scoring form if and when he is called to the National team.”

The suspension means that Flemmings will miss all of the 2020 USL Championships playoffs. He had scored 14 goals in 14 matches for the Phoenix Rising.  The 24-year old has made 10 appearances for the Jamaica national team.

 

Junior Flemmings of Phoenix Rising has been banned for six matches for a homophobic insult aimed at San Diego Loyal's Collin Martin.

The Jamaican was found to have directed "foul and abusive language in the form of a homophobic slur" at Martin, who is the only openly gay player in football in the United States.

The incident in last Wednesday's USL Championship match prompted San Diego to walk off the pitch in protest. The referee had mistakenly sent Martin off, apparently thinking he was the abuser as he reported Flemming's comments to the officials.

A heated discussion between head coach Landon Donovan, opposite number Rick Schantz and the referee followed. San Diego returned to the pitch after half-time but only to take a knee before walking off again.

Flemmings issued a statement on social media denying the abuse, but Rising placed him on administrative leave last Thursday while the USL conducted an investigation into the incident.

The USL Championship is one tier below Major League Soccer in the United States.

On Tuesday, the league confirmed the punishment: stating: "The USL Championship announced on Tuesday, following an investigation that included interviews with 11 individuals, including players, coaches and match officials, that it has issued a six-game suspension and undisclosed fine to Phoenix Rising FC's Junior Flemmings for the use of foul and abusive language in the form of a homophobic slur during the club's match against San Diego Loyal SC on September 30.

"Per the player's contract, Flemmings could also be subject to additional discipline from Phoenix Rising FC and remains on administrative leave.

"Flemmings' suspension covers the entirety of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs."

Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce boasts a treasure trove of gold medals from the many global finals she has won since she burst onto the scene at the Beijing Olympics 12 years ago. She has set many records along the way including the first woman to win a sprint treble at a World Championships in Moscow in 2013, or becoming the first Jamaican woman to win Olympic 100m gold in Beijing in 2008.

However, the 33-year-old veteran, in an interview on the Olympic channel, said her greatest victory occurred at the 2019 World Championships in Doha where became the first athlete to win four 100m World titles.

Winning her first world title after giving birth, made it extra special.

 “My greatest win is coming back and having my son and winning that World Championships,” said Fraser Pryce who took home two gold medals from Doha. She was also a member of Jamaica’s winning 4x100m relay team.

“For a lot of times in my life I have been told what I can do, what I cannot do and what is attainable for me; and here I am putting everything to the test, understanding that we are not limited, we are so much more, we are powerful, we are strong.

“Having my son rejuvenated me mentally, spiritually and emotionally.”

The two gold medals Fraser-Pryce won in Doha brought her World Championships gold medal tally to nine.

 

 

 

 

 s

In Jamaica football culture, from scrimmage level to professional, it’s quite common to hear players blurt out homophobic slurs in colourful shades of the local dialect, whether with rising anger or in jest.

So, it was not at all surprising to see the reactions when The Gleaner recently posted the story on United Soccer League’s (USL) Phoenix Rising player, Junior Flemmings, who was accused of hurling a Jamaican homophobic slur towards an openly gay San Diego Loyal player.  A lot of the reactions were empathetic. In fact, a good deal of the comments section on their Instagram page read like this:

“Oh dear. It’s a Jamaican [thing]. No hurt [feelings] meant.”

“It's the norm. Don’t chastise him. For Jamaicans, everybody [is] a ‘b***y b*y’.”

“It [is] not [that] serious.”

Respondents seemed very understanding, even though Flemmings denied the allegations.  For many of us, after all, shouting homophobic slurs during football games just isn’t a big deal, in fact, it’s the norm.  No harm was done, right?  Wrong, just because something is the norm that doesn't make it right, nor should it be set in stone. Norms can change over time.  And, in cases like this, a lot of those changes will facilitate the growth of a society.

EJ, the Communication and Campaign Strategist, at J-Flag, pointed out that the incident is an opportunity to remind people about why the use of homophobic slurs should be re-evaluated.

 “Whether it is said in the public domain or in private spaces, or around close friends and family, slurs reinforce the negative views of LGBT identities,” he reflected.

 “Slurs often bring the community back to sites of hurtful mental and emotional trauma. While some use the excuse that it is not being directed at any [particular] person who is out [as] lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBT), slurs reinforce the idea that LGBT identities are so ‘dirty’ that they can be used to cause verbal harm to ‘straight’ men.”

In addition to maintaining negative stereotypes associated with the LGBT community, EJ is concerned that reinforcing the notion that Jamaica is ‘the most homophobic place on earth’ could also be harmful.  He recommends being more aware of the consequences homophobic remarks can have on the country.

“If we’re serious about removing that stigma from our name and the damage that it causes to brand Jamaica, we have to be more mindful of our language and conscious of the harm it may cause.”

Flemmings’ recent statement that was posted to his personal Twitter page ended with, “I stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ movement.”   Who knows, maybe his public support for the community will motivate others to consider the feeling of the LGBT community and the consequences of their actions, on and off the field, in the future.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

West Indies pacer Sheldon Cottrell expressed delight at being able to recover from a stumble to start the current Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, and backs his team Kings XI Punjab to do the same.

The KL Rahul-led franchise, which also features Chris Gayle, has had a tough start to the new season after winning only one of their first four matches.  In the last fixture, a 48-run loss to Mumbai Indians, Rahul raised eyebrows with his death bowling selection.  Rahul chose K Gowtham to bowl the last over against Mumbai, with the in-form Cottrell left to watch.

Gowtham gave away 25 runs, one of the reasons the Rohit Sharma-led side managed to post a hefty total.

Cottrell had earlier claimed the wicket of Quinton de Kock and conceded just 20 runs in his four overs.  The fast bowler had recovered from a tough outing against Rajasthan Royals',  where Rahul Tewatia smashed 5 sixes off one of his overs during a record run chase. 

Despite the circumstances, Cottrell, however, insisted he remained confident in Rahul’s decisions.

"Honestly, I back my skipper (KL Rahul) 110%. Whatever his decision is, I'm going to back it. It was a decision he felt was best for the team. It didn't work today (Thursday), unfortunately, but on another day I'm sure it will work," Cottrell said.

As for the tough outing against RR, the bowler insisted he never lost confidence and backed the team, to much like he has, recover from a slow start.

"My comeback was excellent. My confidence was always there. But I wish my bowling effort could have helped Kings XI cross the line. I'm feeling pleased about my performance," he added.

"I have been working hard on death bowling, and so have my bowling partners. We're getting there and we've been learning from our mistakes and practising it on the training grounds. I'm sure we're going to pull it off very soon. I wouldn't say worrying, it's just a matter of time for us.”

Two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has targeted breaking the 10.70-second barrier as she goes for an unprecedented third Olympic title in Tokyo next year.

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has acquired a mobile testing unit to increase the testing capacity of the organization.

 The newly retrofitted unit was officially handed over to the commission, by the Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in a ceremony held at JADCO on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

The mobile testing unit which is disabled-friendly consists of wheelchair ramps, support railings, restrooms for doping control, waiting areas to accommodate athletes and support personnel and storage areas.

The unit will allow the Commission to conduct more In-Competition and Out-of-Competition tests in remote locations and will increase the efficiency of the national anti-doping programme.

“This has been a dream for us and today our dream is a reality. I am going to be unveiling and launching this mobile unit that will be one of two such anti-doping mobile units that exists in the world, operated by a National Anti-Doping Organization,” said Minister Grange.

“So Jamaica has now introduced the unit and the only other National Anti-Doping Organization in the world that has a similar unit is the Japan Anti-Doping Agency, so we are very proud to be one of two.”

Chairman of JADCO, Alexander Williams said he was pleased to announce that the deployment of this mobile unit will expand the testing capacity of the commission. “It will also improve the service we provide and enable us to travel across the island to test Jamaican athletes in a secure environment that meets the required international standards,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jamaican sprinter hurdler Megan Tapper expressed her satisfaction that JADCO had now improved its capabilities as the country strives to support clean sport.

“I am super impressed with the JADCO bus,” said the 2019 World Championships finalist.
“I am happy that our government and our anti-doping agency are looking to the future and making us world leaders not only on the track but in anti-doping.”

JADCO was formally established in 2008 to execute the national anti-doping programme in accordance with the standards stipulated by the international governing body, the World Anti-Doping Agency. JADCO’s mission is to foster a dope free environment in Jamaica that promotes the ethics and spirit of sport through education, testing, advocacy and coordination of an effective anti-doping programme in Jamaica.

 Jerome Harriott, executive director of the National Tackle Football Association (NTFA), has his eyes set on the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium for a potentially big event.  That’s great news.

According to a recent Jamaica Observer article, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) managing director, Andy Fuller, recently contacted Harriott about the possibility of hosting the 2021 American Flag Football World Championship in Jamaica.

If the country is selected to host the championships, Harriott hopes to use three venues— the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium is one of them.

Flag football is the scaled-down version of American football and the event has the potential to pull around 600 participants and 2,500 visitors to the island.  Hosting the championships at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium could initiate something bigger than just reclaiming its relevance as a stadium.

Using the stadium for such an event could assist the venue in fulfilling a much greater purpose; promoting sports tourism.

As stated in an article by the Jamaica Information Service titled, ‘Major Upgrading for National Stadium and Trelawny Multipurpose Facility’, there are plans for the stadium “ to be redeveloped to become the centre of sport tourism.”

Sports tourism involves travelling to a destination to participate in or watch sports. It involves travelling for other sports-related reasons like stadium tours, sports museums and exhibition tours, player's testimonials etc.

Harriott pointed out that if Jamaica is to host the IFAF World Championship, it would “fulfil the Government of Jamaica’s mandate of promoting Jamaica as a sports tourism destination, opening opportunities for Team Jamaica to present another success on the world stage, and advancement of the sport domestically and in the region.”

For sports tourism to be a growing sector in Jamaica, the country has to showcase its facilities and its ability to produce excellent athletes. That way, athletic teams worldwide would visit Jamaica for tours and may even want to use the facilities to train.

Equally important is embracing sports that are popular in other countries. Spectators from far and wide will travel to watch the sports they love.  Nurturing athletes in developing sports can attract and retain global support.

It is only fitting that the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium, described as “the centre of sport tourism” is used to host the 2021 American Flag Football World Championship, once the opportunity presents itself.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have been drawn in Group C of the CONCACAF Gold Cup where they will face Costa Rica, Suriname, and the winner of preliminary round 8.

The Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup will kick off on July 10, 2021. The 12 Concacaf national teams, which qualified directly through their performances in the Concacaf Nations League group stage, the guest participant, AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar, and the three Prelims winners have been divided into four groups.

Group A will feature Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and the winner of preliminary 9.  Group B will consist of the USA, Canada, Martinique, and the winner of preliminary 7.  In Group D Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar will compete to advance.

The competition will begin on July 2, 2021, with the Preliminary Round, which will include12 Concacaf Member Associations competing for the final three spots in the 16-team Group Stage. For the two-round Prelims, the participating national teams have been divided into six matchups.  The games are listed below. 

Round One

Matchup #1: Haiti vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Matchup #2: Guatemala vs Guyana

Matchup #3: Trinidad and Tobago vs Monserrat

Matchup #4: Cuba vs French Guiana

Matchup #5: Guadeloupe vs the Bahamas

Matchup #6: Bermuda vs Barbados

Round Two

Matchup #7: Winner Matchup #1 vs Winner Matchup #6

Matchup #8: Winner Matchup #2 vs Winner Matchup #5

Matchup #9: Winner Matchup #3 vs Winner Matchup #4

 

Michael Bernard’s colt Nipster shattered the champion owner’s top horse Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid in delivering a 31-1 upset victory in Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger at Caymanas Park.

Ridden from off the pace by Linton Steadman for trainer Gary Subratie, Nipster swept to the front inside the final furlong and won the 10-furlong Classic by a length and a quarter over his stablemate and 1-2 favourite Wow Wow in a fast time of two minutes 06.00.

“It’s a bittersweet moment I must say,” a smiling Bernard said. “I really expected and wanted Wow Wow to win so he could continue on his Triple Crown journey, but it’s a wonderful feeling,” he quickly added after watching his two three-year-olds snatch first and second in the JA$3 million (US$21,000) event.

The 20-1 bet Oneofakind was a further half-length behind in third and the even-money second favourite Mahogany struggled to fourth.

Out of the starting gates in pouring rain, 1000 Guineas and Oaks runner-up Another Affair, one of four Subratie entries, shot to the front with Wow Wow, the 99-1 bet Green Gold Rush and King Arthur (8-1) tracking.

Another Affair quickened to lead down the backstretch by seven lengths followed by the 2019 Champion two-year-old Wow Wow and King Arthur racing as a team. Green Gold Rush was fourth and as they hit the six-furlong marker, Mahogany, who had entered the backstretch in 10th spot, gained rapidly toward the lead and moved into fifth spot.

Nipster was still not among the front six at the half-mile as Another Affair’s lead shrunk to just over two lengths with Wow Wow poised to pounce while King Arthur and Mahogany closed in to challenge.

Wow Wow’s rider Robert Halledeen, anxious to keep the 2000 Guineas winner on the Triple Crown path, flew past Another Affair leaving the three-furlong marker with Mahogany on his heels and Wow Wow held command at the top of the homestretch.

Heading to the eighth pole, Wow Wow still led and appeared to be safely repelling Mahogany’s challenge while Oneofakind -- widest of all -- looked threatening and Nipster suddenly appeared with a sprightly rail run.

In a flash, Nipster collared Wow Wow and moved clear with the ecstatic Steadman standing tall in the saddle even before the finish as the colt logged his fifth win in 14 lifetime starts.

“From half mile out I saw he (Nipster) had a whole heap of gas that could last out and become a winner,” Steadman said after his second St Leger triumph.

For Steadman, who had also won the 2016 St Leger with Bigdaddykool, it was his first time aboard Nipster in a race but developed a connection with the Casual Trick-Nippit bred colt after two exercise gallops aboard him.

“The horse is an easy horse to ride, quiet and very easy to deal with. He is cool and kind and (as long as) a horse is cool and kind that’s a whole heap of horse,” Steadman added.

Nipster clocked the fastest St Leger win since War Zone’s race record 2:05.2 in 1996 while foiling Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid.

“We are disappointed (for Wow Wow) but I am happy for the owner because he believed in the horse,” was Subratie’s take on Nipster denying Wow Wow the chance at becoming the third Triple Crown champion in four years – after She’s a Maneater (2017) and Supreme Soul (2019) -- at Caymanas Park. 

I love it when everybody wins. But, I really love seeing women win more.

Elaine Thompson-Herah rediscovered her best form, after a tough three years battling injury, and captured our attention with a stunning performance last week, after winning the women's 100m race at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Rome.

After the race, the double Olympic champion explained that the changes to the track season because of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed plenty of challenges. Nevertheless, she motivated herself and dug deep to find her best.  And I respect that.  We should all respect that.

Female competitive gamers would love some of that kind of respect, but for them, it is a hard to find commodity. Their work environment is full of challenges, yet they often overcome numerous obstacles to achieve their goals regardless.

Chiefly, male gamers often devalue their female counterparts. Competitive gamer Sashaun Bailey knows all about that.

While playing Call of Duty mobile, male gamers assume Sashaun plays it for attention or she isn’t the one actually playing. Either way, they try to make her feel less than a ‘real gamer’.  It’s a common practice by male gamers, especially if women are playing on a smartphone. 

Although the gaming world can be is a hotspot for harassment, for everybody, women often feel it more. Studies show that a female’s voice in the ‘Halo 3’ game is three times more likely to get negative comments than a male voice, regardless of performance. Sashaun can attest to that because once male players hear her voice, they instantly start firing nasty and rude comments in her direction.

“I’ve gotten some pretty bad comments. I’ve gotten disgusting stuff, the racist stuff. I’ve been called the ‘N’ word... the ‘go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich comments'," she explained.

In the gaming community, the abuse and derogatory comments directed at female players is called ‘flaming’.  But Sashaun has her way of dealing with it.

“A lot of these guys try to distract me with their comments and their rude conversations, but I just stay focused and kill them. If I can’t, I mute the whole thing, so I won’t hear anybody.” 

Sashaun isn’t alone in adopting that strategy. In most cases, female players conceal their identity to avoid harassment. According to Audrey L. Brehm(2013) research paper, Navigating the feminine in massively multiplayer online games: gender in World of Warcraft, many participants in ‘World of Warcraft’ pretend they have a malfunctioning mic to avoid participating in voice chat during a game.

At the same time, when she’s not masking femininity, she’s embracing it.

Sashaun admits to being a bit of a tomboy but she knows competitive gaming is a male-dominated sport and so, the majority of her views from live streams are from men.

Knowing that fact often drives an effort to make their videos as appealing as possible for female gamers. Especially because viewers can donate money if they like what they see.

“A lot of girls use their femininity as an advantage in different ways. For me, I like to keep things simple by exercising/staying in shape because naturally, people want to see a good-looking girl play games - especially if she’s really good.”

 Her video content ranges from playing games while lounging to dancing in tights. One viewer from Sashaun’s live stream opined, “it's less about the game and more about seeing the girls.”

Winning for many female gamers looks like just like this: in the end, it comes down to redeeming feminine qualities that face ridiculously unfair scrutiny on a daily basis.

However, there are growing concerns that female gamers oversexualising their content, and that it can influence how the gaming community sees women in general.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

 

The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has called on JFF Technical Chairman, Rudolph Speid, to resign from the post, citing what they deem to be multiple conflicts of interest.

Speid was appointed to the post earlier this year, but KSAFA has pointed to several other post appointments that he also holds at the same time as problematic.

“Currently you are a member of the Board of Directors for the JFF, Chairman of the Technical Committee, leads the operations of the JFF’s Coaching School, Chairman of the newly formed Jamaica Coaches Association, member of the Leadership of the Jamaica National Premier League (JNPL) and owner / major

shareholder in Cavaliers Soccer Club.  This long list of involvement consists of clear lines of conflict of interest,” the letter stated.

The letter went on to point out that, as it relates to Jamaican football, the conflicts have caused an inability to view ‘important policy matters objectively’ and also took umbrage to what has been deemed a ‘lack of respect and

regard for stakeholders.’ The body has promised to escalate the matter to the Jamaica Football Federation if Speid refused to accede to the request.

Jamaica’s Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has sought consensus and some direction from high school coaches regarding the possibility of staging the popular Boys and Girls Championship next year.

The event, which is typically staged in the month of March, was cancelled this year due to the credible threat of being a coronavirus super spreader event.  Since then, ISSA has announced the suspension of all school competitions scheduled for the Christmas term.

With no creditable solutions coming to the fore as yet regarding the best possible ways to returning to the staging of high school sports, amidst the pandemic, concerns had been raised regarding the protentional of next year’s event being cancelled as well.

In a letter issued to the coaches, ISSA was quick to point out that the December term cancellations had no impact on next year’s event.  But, in light of the need to satisfy restrictive COVID-19 protocols for staging the event, the body also pointed out that creative solutions were needed in order to host the competition.

“ISSA has cancelled all ISSA competitions scheduled for the 2020 Christmas term.  This decision, however, does not have any impact on the staging of the 2021 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships,” the letter read.

“However, the national COVID-19 protocols dictate that if Champs 2021 is to be a reality, then adjustments have to be made to the general structure and scheduling of the meet.  These changes could possibly have implications for the number of athletes, classes, events and days of Champs 2021,” it continued.

“We, therefore, invite each group of regional coaches (as per Regional Meets, Western, Central, Eastern, Corporate) to meet virtually amongst themselves and discuss possible suggestions as to what the 2021 ISSA/GraceKennedy Champs may look like in the context of COVID-19.  It is expected that from the regional discussions, coaches will submit their suggestions via an appointed team leader by email.”

The coaches will have until October 2, to submit their suggestions.

 The onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic led to sports coming to a standstill in March.  Since then quite a few have restarted. Horse racing restarted back in June. The first Test cricket match between the West Indies and England began in early July. The Jamaica synchro team started recruiting and training swimmers last month.

For some, however, the silence surrounding their immediate future is deafening.  And, in the meantime, athletes continue to suffer significant losses from a lack of opportunity.  As of now, volleyball is one of those sports.

Middle blocker for the Venus Volleyball Club, Rojey Hutchinson, is an athlete who finished university recently and was hoping to gain more from sports competitions right after.

Hutchinson graduated from the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica, in late 2019, and secured his diploma in mechanical engineering.

 He attended the university on a volleyball scholarship and has never forgotten that fact. “Volleyball got me where I am today. It gave me the opportunity to travel, experience different cultures, and gave me the opportunity to attend university on a volleyball scholarship,” Hutchinson explained.

 After completing his studies at UTech, Hutchinson looked forward to competing in the Venus International tournament that was scheduled to take place on March 20 – 22. However, due to the onset of the virus, the tournament was cancelled.

 The cancellation of the event that would have featured seven male and eight female teams— from Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, and Jamaica, adversely affected Hutchinson. Admittedly, he looks forward to the tournament every year and knew he could have readily exploited the opportunities presented to him during this time since school was out of the way.

He explained, “the Venus International Tournament is something we as volleyballers look forward to every year. We get to meet people and see the way they play volleyball. The tournament is played at a higher level than what we are used to in Jamaica with our local teams.”

“It helps me to be more selective with my shots and it also helps me to be more disciplined on the court. We are playing against some of the top clubs in countries that are very good at volleyball and some of these guys played in the pro league and also on their national team.”

The volleyballer, who has been playing with the Venus Volleyball Club for five years, says he hasn’t been training and has “no idea when volleyball will resume.”

And neither does the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA).

According to JaVA, they cannot say for sure when volleyball competitions will resume since they’re still having discussions with the Ministry of Sport.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

Universe Boss Chris Gayle is excited about the release of his new music video done in collaboration with British Indian singer Avina Shah. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.