At any time, but more especially when so many international sports are making a concerted effort to expunge the still evident curse of racism, the Jamaica Daily Gleaner’s reaction to John Dyson’s appointment as West Indies cricket coach made for alarming reading Here is how one of the oldest and most respected newspapers in the Caribbean railed against the choice in its editorial: “Like Bennett King and David Moore immediately before him, John Dyson, an Australian, is a foreigner, a white foreigner at that, and many former players (and) a vast number of fans are against it and justifiably so.”
If “many former players and a vast number of fans” are, indeed, against the selection of another outsider, rather than a West Indian, to try to steer our team out of the stormy waters where it has foundered for more than a decade, they would be seriously bigoted to base their objection on the colour of his skin.
It is not difficult to imagine the furore that would have rightly ensued had, say, the London Daily Telegraph, that bastion of Britishness, commented on the recent choice of England’s Barbados-born bowling coach in the same way: “Like Duncan Fletcher before him, Ottis Gibson is a foreigner, a black foreigner at that.”
But the Gleaner went further.
“And it makes it worse that so many years after the abolition of slavery, so many years after the independence of so many territories in the region, the political champions who fought the good fight must now be turning in their graves at this insult to their memory,” it wrote.
Should the departed champions, political or cricketing, be twisting turbulently in their final resting places, it is hardly at the thought of the West Indies team being coached by a foreigner, whatever his nationality and colour. It is at how a remarkable legacy, carefully created over a century by the diverse people of this richly cosmopolitan region and with minimal outside assistance, should have so rapidly disintegrated as to bring us to the present, sorry pass. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.