For as long as the game of cricket has been played, it has always being referred to as a “Gentleman Sport”. Gentleman sport in the sense that there should always be fair-play. Players should be respectable to both players and umpires during and after the game.
Win, lose or draw, respect must be given.
Over time, cricketers have begun to taunt or slug each other on and off the field with their snide remarks. Some players make nothing of it, while others respond, either verbally or by putting bat to ball to make as many runs as possible to silence their critics.
Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson and broadcaster 2KY are two such persons, who in recent time, have been publicly heard passing snide remarks about West Indian Cricketer Marlon Samuels. Geoff, during a radio podcast, made unjustifiable comments accusing Marlon of being involved with criminal gangs in Jamaica. Marlon did not take too kindly to those comments made by Geoff on his podcast, and instructed his lawyer, Richard Owen-Thomas, to file legal proceedings against Geoff for defamation of character.
Marlon’s case went to court and he ended up winning and will be receiving a full apology along with an undisclosed “substantial damages”. The apology to Marlon is due for broadcast on air at a time to be agreed.
Marlon Samuels made it clear that he has a brand to protect, as not only is he representing West Indies Cricket, but he has other business interest with which he is involved as well as endorsement deals with international corporations. This damaging remark by Geoff Lawson, sheds a bad light on the image which he, Marlon, is trying to maintain. For Geoff to make such a statement with no substantial evidence, is wrong and intolerable.
Further to this, Marlon went on to state, for the record, that he hopes his win will prevent any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without facing consequences.
This should certainly caution journalists and the public in general, that one ought not to make statements on or about any individual without first having done some research to substantiate their claims or statements. As a journalist, it is one’s duty to report the facts and not just put something out there to boost ratings. The fact of the matter is that players’ livelihood and reputation are at risk of being ruined and an unjustified statement in the media can bring an untimely end to their career. Many journalists fail to understand that freedom of speech comes with responsibility.
It’s a win for Marlon.
I have learned that he will be donating some of the proceeds of the damages to the Marlon Samuels Society for the Blind here in Jamaica, as well as a few other charities.