The Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) yesterday as promised released a statement seeking to justify their suspensions of three national rugby players following the team’s participation at the Commonwealth Games in India.
Dwayne Schroeder, Kevin McKenzie and Albert La Rose were suspended from November 7 for nine months, one year and two years respectively for what the GRFU termed in a previous statement as “conduct and behaviour that was indisciplined during their participation in the Commonwealth Games”.
Yesterday’s statement gave a more comprehensive view of the players’ actions prior to, during and following the Commonwealth Games.
Following is the statement.
On 8th December, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the GRFU, Robin Roberts, announced disciplinary measures for gross misconduct taken against three of its players, Albert La Rose, Kevin Mc Kenzie and Dwayne Schroeder, for indisciplined behavior during their participation in the Commonwealth Games.
At the time of the announcement, the Union preferred not to make public the details of the offenses committed by the players in the belief that it was not in the interest of the players to do so. However, since the announcement, the players have given media interviews in which they have very seriously misrepresented the facts and have personally attacked the credibility and good name of the Union and the President of the Union, Kit Nascimento, who served as Team Manager at the Commonwealth Games.
The Union wishes to make it clear that the President, Kit Nascimento, was not a member of and played no part in the deliberations of the Disciplinary Committee which reviewed the charges and which decided on the disciplinary action to be taken.
The Union now believes, in view of the reports in the media, that it is necessary to publicly summarise the facts as follows:
Kevin Mc Kenzie
From the time of of Kevin Mc Kenzie’s selection prior to the team’s departure for the Games, he was frequently absent or late for team practice and was warned by the Team Manager, Coach and Captain, that he would be withdrawn from selection if he failed to improve his performance.
While the team was at Loughborough University in training, a number of players, evidentially instigated by Kevin Mc Kenzie, left the hotel without permission returning at 4:00 a.m in the morning, resulting in a complaint from the hotel about their behavior. The team management spoke with the team and warned that any further behaviour of this kind would result in the withdrawal of the team from the Games. The team Captain subsequently apologized on behalf of the players and undertook that it would not happen again.
For the purpose of uniformity and easy identification each day within the Village, the team was directed to wear a particular colour Guyana team shirt. On almost every occasion, Mc Kenzie was the odd man out, failing to conform to directions, offering the excuse that the shirts were missing from his locker. When the Team Manager spoke to him about his attitude towards team discipline, his response was that the Manager could send him home if he wished.
Prior to the final two days of the tournament, team training involved an early morning hydro. Mc Kenzie decided not to attend the hydro. When informed by the Technical Director (TD) that he would be benched (not played in the tournament) if he failed to attend the session he became abusive to the TD.
When it became apparent to the Team Manager that senior players Mc Kenzie, Schroeder and La Rose among them, were staying out late in the Village, a team curfew of 11:00 p.m was imposed. Mc Kenzie and Schroeder, in particular, were observed breaking the curfew.
Albert La Rose
La Rose was consistently rude to management throughout the tour. On day two of the tournament at a warm up session prior to a quarter final against Tonga, he completely lost his temper when admonished by the TD for not performing. Two days before the tournament, La Rose precipitated a row with another player over the loan of an audio recorder which he damaged and then refused to pay for. The Manager’s intervention was required to avoid further confrontation.
Dwayne Schroeder, along with Mc Kenzie and La Rose, was consistently late into his room in India and, along with Mc Kenzie, La Rose and, on occasion, Corbin, defied team instructions for an 11:00 p.m room curfew during three days prior to match days.
The Guyana Delegation was requested by the Chef de Mission to participate in the Closing Ceremony on the night after the conclusion of the tournament. The Guyana Rugby team was scheduled to depart Delhi the following morning on a 2:00 a.m Air India flight for London.
Members of the team were given the option of attending the Ceremony or remaining in the Village. All team baggage had been packed and delivered for transportation to the airport by midday. Team departure with the Guyana delegation for the closing Ceremony was scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Buses were arranged for members of the team to return to the Village by 10:00 p.m, pickup their overnight bags and be present at the transport terminal for a 10:30 p.m departure to the airport. All members remaining at the Village were given clear directions at the team meeting to be ready to depart the Village at 10:30 p.m.
When the members of the team who had participated in the Closing Ceremony returned to their rooms ready for a 10:00 p.m departure, they were joined by the members who had remained in the Village, except Kevin Mc Kenzie, Dwayne Schroeder and Albert La Rose who could not be found. The Team Manager informed the Chef de Mission of this development.
The Chef saw the team off at the bus terminal and undertook to try and locate the three missing players. The players, in fact, had been drinking in a bar in the Village.
The three players arrived at the departure lounge at Delhi Airport at approximately 15 minutes prior to our time to board the aircraft. It was apparent that they were all under the influence of alcohol. La Rose was particularly drunk. The Chef de Mission later informed the Manager that the three players turned up at their rooms under the influence of alcohol, behaving in a loud and obnoxious manner. With some difficulty, he was eventually able to get them on to a bus leaving just in time for the airport. The Team Manger has written an apology to the Chef de Mission and the GOA on behalf of the GRFU.
Mc Kenzie and La Rose, wearing their team uniforms and to the embarrassment of the Guyana Rugby Team and in the presence of a departure lounge filled with members of other departing team delegations, including the United Kingdom team delegation and commercial passengers, took possession of a wheelchair and attempted to wheel each other around the lounge while frequently overturning the chair.
Air India officials then intervened, took control of the wheelchair and put La Rose on the aircraft in the wheelchair, followed by Mc Kenzie. Schroeder took no part in this disgraceful exhibition of bad manners and gross indiscipline.
IRB Regulation 17.21, dealing with misconduct, states that “Unions are responsible and accountable for the conduct of their Players, Officials and all Persons under their jurisdiction. Unions, Players and Persons must conduct themselves in a disciplined and sporting manner and ensure that they do not commit an act or acts or misconduct.
For the purpose of this Regulation, misconduct should mean any conduct, behavior or practice on or off the playing enclosure in connection with an international match, international tour or international tournament (excluding Foul Play during a match) that is unsporting and/or unruly and/or ill disciplined and/or that brings or has the potential to bring the sport of the rugby union, the IRB and/or its commercial partner into disrepute”.
Amongst examples of the types of misconducts, behavior, statements or practices that may amount to misconduct under these regulations, Regulations 17 21.2, gives the following: “Acting in an abusive, insulting, intimidating or offensive manner towards Referees, Touch Judges or other Officials or any person associated with the Union’s participation in the Match or spectators”. Consistent with the iRB Regulations and in accord with the GRFU’s Constitution with regard to any indisciplined conduct which is prejudicial to the interest of the Union or the game, the Disciplinary Committee of the Union considered the charges laid against the three players and took appropriate action against them.