Rugby players say suspension unjustified

Suspended national rugby player, Dwayne Schroeder believes that he has been unfairly disciplined by the disciplinary committee appointed by the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) to hear misconduct complaints against him and two other players.

Schroder along with his teammates Kevin McKenzie and Albert La Rose on Guyana’s rugby Sevens team that participated in this year’s Commonwealth Games,  were suspended by the GRFU for nine months, one year and two years respectively.

Senior Vice President of the GRFU and Chairman of the disciplinary committee, Robin Roberts told Stabroek Sport on Tuesday that the suspensions are as a result of the players missing the team bus and being under the influence of alcohol while preparing to leave India after conclusion of the Games.

Dwayne Schroeder

However, Schroeder declared that he “was not under the influence of alcohol” as he protested his nine-month suspension when contacted by Stabroek Sport yesterday.

Schroeder however admitted to missing the team bus, but stated that “the whole thing is a raw deal” as he argued that he did not deserve to be suspended for just missing the bus.

“The reason we missed the bus is because we stayed back at the village [Commonwealth Games village] and got caught up” Schroeder said as he explained that they lost track of time.

“I think it was unconstitutional and I’m annoyed with the way they go around suspending me when all I’m guilty of is missing the bus to the airport” Schroeder added.

He believes that the suspension was fueled by other allegations made against him. Schroeder said that while at the Commonwealth games he was accused of always being late for practice and missing some training sessions, allegations he did not deny but said: “I was not always late”.

Kevin McKenzie

Schroeder believes that the GRFU is trying to punish him for the previous allegations made against him and they are only claiming that he was intoxicated as an excuse.

“It’s old problems they bringing up against me. I was not under the influence of alcohol” Schroder declared. Schroeder is unhappy with the suspension decision made by the GRFU, but stated that at the end of his suspension period, he will continue to play rugby under the GRFU at the club level and is willing to represent Guyana again at the international level.

Though he received the lightest sentence, he strongly believes it was unfair and plans on making further appeals of the decision to suspend him to the GRFU though his lawyer.

McKenzie also gave his version of the suspension issue at a press conference held last night at Capitol News.
Clash

McKenzie reiterated that the reasons for suspending the players did not stem from what was disclosed by the GRFU, but a number of other issues that resulted from a “clash of personalities” between some of the players and the team’s manager, Kit Nascimento. McKenzie noted that the entire issue was blown out of proportion and the disciplinary action taken against them was not required and harsh. He is calling for the matter to be reviewed.

However he admitted: “We did drink, we didn’t have a paper saying a player cannot drink after the tournament, maybe if we did we wouldn’t have, because I follow rules” said McKenzie.

“I think the punishment is too harsh, because banning someone for one year and two years is for doping or something drug related… with a matter like that I think they could’ve dealt with it differently, it was uncalled for”, McKenzie added.

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