In letters dated July 9th from the SKABA Games Committee a number of players and the Coach from the Rams Hitters Basketball club were notified of their suspensions which range from 2 games suspensions to as much as a 2 year suspension and $1,000 fine.
According to the letters, Hitters players David Dowell and Tyrone Hutchinson were suspended for 4 games each for the verbal abuse of an official. SKABA Junior League star guard Daryl Lewis also of Hitters, was suspended for a total of 6 games.
The Hitters Junior player, Trevor Belle, was given the most severe of all the suspensions with a total of 7 games and an automatic 2 year suspension, in addition to a $1,000 club fine. Belle also faces further sanctions, as a matter pertaining to the use of a weapon would be heard by the Disciplinary Committee.
SKABA President Romel Tobias indicated at his election to the post of President, that part of his priority as President, would be the reinstitution of discipline in the league. In addressing the recent suspensions, Tobias expressed disappointment at the behaviour of the players and team officials that received suspensions.
“I am extremely disappointed with the behaviour of the players and even some team officials,” said President Tobias.
“In an atmosphere of crime and violence in our society SKABA cannot afford to be business as usual, when it comes to the discipline of players and officials and their behaviour. We just cannot afford for our sport to be plagued by ill-disciplined players and the Games Committee did what they had to do, in sending a strong and clear message that players and officials alike, must always show respect for each other and respect the officials, the league, the sport and at all times exhibit good behavior and discipline,’ Tobias continued.
Among those suspended was former President, James ‘Barman” Hanley who was suspended for 3 games.
The suspension letter read: “The Games Committee is in receipt of a report made by the Officials with regard to you Mr. James Hanley during game Blue Devils vs. Hitters which was played on 04 July 2011 at Basketball City. The Games Committee met and discussed the report and the following decision was made.
The Games Committee after reviewing this report is in shock and is very disappointed with your verbal abuse of the officials being a Coach and a past President of SKABA for many years.
Due to such behavior you are therefore suspended for three (3) games commencing from the receipt of this letter and you are not allowed to coach your team for the next three (3) scheduled games. “
It is unclear whether the Hitters Club will be filing an official protest of the suspensions as the club would no doubt be heavily hit with some 4 players out on suspensions.
“This is uncharacteristic of Barman but basketball is a sport that can bring out the best and the worst in you and when you are as passionate about a sport as Barman is about basketball, there will always come a time when the passion brings out the worst in you and uncharacteristic behaviour takes over,” said a former SKABA official.
Hitters are the defending SKABA champions.