Graydon Sealy, a school that has produced many of Barbados top basketball players, has found itself at the centre of controversy with the National Sports Council (NSC).
And it seems no resolution is in sight anytime soon as both parties are yet to meet to discuss the situation surrounding one of Graydon Sealy’s players, Rinaldo Simmonds, who was banned by the NSC from this year’s Massy United Insurance Secondary Schools Basketball competition for indiscipline earlier this year during the Under-16 League Finals against Queen’s College in June.
In fact, Simmonds was ejected from the championship match and refused to leave the court at the Barbados Community College when an official from the NSC decided to escort him and Simmonds resisted which caused a scene in the presence of the sponsors, other officials and spectators present.
The controversy has now heightened, as not only was Graydon Sealy’s star player banned from this year’s tournament but the school’s entire ‘A’ team was also dismissed from the competition having forfeited three games after intentionally playing Simmonds at the start of the competition knowing he was banned.
However, Graydon Sealy coach and teacher Brian Parris has sought to give clarity on the matter stating that the school wrote to the NSC before the start of the tournament informing the council of their intention to play Simmonds under protest until both parties met. But that went on deaf ears, as the NSC failed to return numerous calls or acknowledge the letters sent to the NSC by the principal of the school, Beverley Bancroft.
Last Wednesday afternoon the Graydon Sealy B team, at the end of the third quarter of an ongoing match against Deighton Griffith Secondary School, lined the court in the form of a protest and eventually forfeited the match when they opted not to finish the game.
Parris made it clear to Barbados TODAY the school does not condone what Simmonds did but he questioned whether they were being discriminated against, because in their opinion the NSC was refusing to give the young man a fair hearing.
According to Parris, even “ISIS gives people a trial before decapitating them”. He referred to a violent incident that took place in the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s competition in 2012 where the persons and teams involved were given a hearing. He questioned why this could not be done at the school level.
Parris said he believed the situation had become a personal one because the player at the time of the final was stripped of his most outstanding player award and now was also banned. In addition, he said the fear was that the NSC would wait until the tournament ended to seek dialogue with the school which he said would be unfair.
“He was supposed to have gotten the most outstanding player award and how do we know this. They said that he was stripped of that award because of his behaviour. But if you are going to punish him why are you punishing him twice, it just comes across as if it is a personal attack on the player. The next thing is, if you have an institution that is all about player development, why is it that this institution is trying so hard to make sure that this player does not play, instead of helping him to rehabilitate? It is not a case that we are saying he [Rinaldo] was right, we are saying that the procedures the National Sports Council used to ban him were unjust and we think that regardless of what any of our players do that they deserve a hearing.
“We received a letter early September saying he is banned and not to bring him to any of the tournaments. But you don’t do things like that, there is a right procedure towards doing these things. That is not even player development when you look at Graydon Sealy, a school that has produced a number of this island’s best basketball players in John Jones, Aminiki Wood, Latifah Wood, Andrew Ifill, Shaquan Newton, Theo Greenidge, Tremaine Shaw and the list goes on. This is a school that produces basketball talent. How are you going to stay there and tell me about player development and we have an outstanding player and you are doing nothing to help his development,” Parris said.
He also referenced the rule book which stated that any player who required discipline should go before a committee. To date, nothing of that nature has occurred since the incident took place.
“They have not even sat down with the principal and say this is the case. And the principal even wrote to the National Sports Council; they have not even responded to her. So, for me, it has gone beyond the boy’s involvement in the sport and it’s gone to a level where they actually disrespecting the school because they haven’t even responded to our principal. If she made the effort to call, at least call her back. And I had to see in a text that we were out of the competition, which is yet again wrong, but it was done. All I am asking is for this to be just and for the NSC to meet with us so we could move off this situation. All of us are here for good basketball and player development, let us go about it the right way. That is all I am asking the NSC,” Parris said.
Efforts tonight for comment from the NSC were futile up to publication time.