You are here
Morton issue brings organisational justice to the fore
Organisational justice as a concept in local sport took centre stage following the startling news last week of the arrest of two cricketers on representative duty during a regional cricket match between Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands. Many of the problems that are common to national sport organisations (NSOs) are related to acts or omissions that contradict the concept of organisational justice which is composed of:
The Minister of Sport, Mr Anil Roberts was honest and transparent when announcing that Runako Morton had been suspended from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affair’s (MSYA) Elite Athlete Assistance Programme (EAAP). The 2004 Athens Olympic swimming coach was unambiguous in his assertion that Morton’s suspension from the EAAP had nothing to do with the matter before the court, but was due to the national cricketer’s breach of the funding body, in this case the MYSA’s EAAP agreement. The Ministry, it was revealed, had acted on the basis of a report from the T&T cricket team manager and captain. Understandably, the embarrassing issue met with emotive and harsh public comment. One only had to read comments on twitter, facebook, etc to recognise that the two players had little sympathy.
Be that as it may, the NSO, in this case the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB), must ensure that the player’s right to due process is protected. This is a responsibility and duty that the TTCB cannot delegate. In this respect it is a reasonable expectation that both the manager and captain would have been guided by TTCB policy and procedures, basic human resource management principles, principles of natural justice and due process considerations.
Runako Morton did not select himself. Even though some cricket stakeholders may feel that the talented St Kitts and Nevis born former Leeward Islands cricketer should not be playing for T&T or that there is hearsay information on the cricketer that ought to have prejudiced—in their view—his consideration for national duty. The fact remains that he was selected in accordance with the TTCB’s selection criteria, and legitimately transferred his “sporting” nationality having met the required residential and jurisdictional requirements. In this respect, procedural justice dictates that the team manager’s report will lead to a formal charge under the TTCB’s disciplinary process. This process will establish if there was a clear breach, if the player failed to comply with the reasonable directions of the team manager, and the remediability of any breach.
Notwithstanding feelings of disappointment, the cricketer—as the Minister quite rightly put it—is “innocent until proven guilty”. The potential negative impact is such that the local cricket authorities will want to be meticulous, fair and proportionate in addressing the issue. There are emerging legal issues, considerations and implications that modern day sport administrators must consider. Especially in circumstances where an athlete’s access to funding is dependent not only on their performance but on their selection. In the sport world, athletes get themselves in trouble. Examples that come to mind are Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick, Charlie Davies, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Thorpe to name a few. They were given the opportunity to show remorse and to redeem themselves.
Two other aspects of Roberts’ statement that were of great significance and importance: his clarification of the difference between the athlete that he described as elite and those he called super elite. A very important distinction. And his warning to EAAP funded athletes who fail to honour their obligation to represent T&T. The concept of organisational justice is a two-way street. If the athlete wants to be treated fairly, and be the beneficiary of organisational justice, he or she must honour the obligations, warranties and undertakings that are expressed and or implied.
Editor’s note: Brian Lewis is the Honorary Secretary General of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee-www.ttoc.org. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.