Don’t press ‘send’

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

WHEN I heard Dar­ren Sammy’s im­pas­sioned out­burst at the clos­ing cer­e­mony for the World T20 tour­na­ment in April, it seemed clear it would be his last act not only as cap­tain but also as a West Indies player. No sport fed­er­a­tion would al­low such an air­ing of dirty li­nen to the world with­out dire con­se­quence, whether the state­ments were true or not. A re­cent tweet by Dar­ren Bravo falls into the same cat­e­gory. Like Sammy at the World T20, Bravo seemed to be an­gry when he wrote the Twit­ter state­ment di­rected at West Indies Cricket Board Pres­i­dent Dave Cameron. Hurt by a crit­i­cal per­for­mance re­view and a com­men­su­rate pay cut, Bravo lashed out. Sammy’s heart was full. Bravo, like many would have been, was bristling at the dou­ble im­pact an­nounced by the WICB pres­i­dent. Even if he had com­plied with the or­der to apol­o­gise and to re­move the of­fend­ing Twit­ter state­ment, the dam­age would have been done. Speech is in­stant and there’s no way to re-wind and erase words once they hit the air­waves. In­ter­net net­work­ing sites like Face­book and Twit­ter cat­a­pult in­for­ma­tion around the globe at break­neck speed. The tra­di­tional me­dia and the In­ter­net of­ten work to­gether to ac­cel­er­ate that move­ment of in­for­ma­tion. An im­pas­sioned plea or an an­gry tweet is front-page news in no time flat.

NO TURN­ING BACK

Once you hit the ‘send’ but­ton, there’s no turn­ing back. That’s why many in­sti­tu­tions have stip­u­la­tions in em­ployee con­tracts that are de­signed to pun­ish those who use the In­ter­net or the me­dia hastily or with hurt­ful in­tent.

At the same time, we love those gre­gar­i­ous per­son­al­i­ties who tell it like it is. They add colour to tepid pub­lic dis­course and be­hav­iour that has been tai­lored by pub­lic­ity agents.

The out-turn in this case is that Bravo has jump­started a process that places his in­ter­na­tional cricket ca­reer in jeop­ardy. Whether you think his state­ments were true or not, the style and con­tent of his ref­er­ences to Cameron are strictly pro­hib­ited by con­tract. Un­less some­thing dra­matic hap­pens, his West Indies day are over.

It might all be dif­fer­ent if his tweet had just said, ‘Dis­ap­pointed’. You never know.

Sammy is 32 and still young for a crick­eter. How­ever, if he never plays for the West Indies again, he has many good mem­o­ries of play­ing for the re­gion. He prob­a­bly has done enough to be at­trac­tive to those who or­gan­ise fran­chise-based T20 tour­na­ments around the cricket world. At home, in St Lucia, there is a cricket sta­dium named af­ter him. Bravo is only 27 and may not be quite so mar­ketable.

For cricket fans, de­vel­op­ments in the Bravo case will be as in­ter­est­ing as the re­cent US pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. In the mean­time, young sports­men and women can learn from what has hap­pened. Things will hap­pen in sport that make you mad enough to re­spond an­grily on Face­book, Twit­ter, In­sta­gram, SnapChat or any other mech­a­nism you pre­fer. The best ad­vice is to calm down. Wait un­til your pulse stops rac­ing and when you stop see­ing red. Don’t you dare to press that ‘send’ but­ton when you’re mad.

Take a deep breath. Cool down. Count to 10 and if that doesn’t work, count to 100. By then, you’ll be calm enough to beat the urge to tantrum-tweet.

BRAVO

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