Former Empire coach slams organisation over attachment of political hopeful’s name to uniforms and publications

Former coach of the Empire cricket team, Leon Rodney.
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By Neto Baptiste

Former coach of the Empire cricket team, Leon Rodney, has labelled a decision by the popular club to endorse the name of an aspiring MP on its official uniforms and official publications, as “foolishness”.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Rodney who is also president of the local cricket association, said the practice is unheard of within the Empire organisation. Rodney said that he has personally put money into the club but has sought nothing in return and feels strongly that no politician, or anyone seeking political office, should ride the waves of the club’s popularity.

“When Empire cricket min ah dead [was dying], it’s people like me who fought and put it there, and you never heard me scream [or] said anything about it, and you’ll never hear me say that. You’re talking about some $5,000 sponsorship, but let me just put this out there, that between myself and the Hon. Baldwin Spencer, for almost 10 years after we had lost the Dettol sponsorship, I spent nearly six to seven thousand dollars every year maintaining Empire and I have never spoken about it because it was never an issue,” he said. 

However, Anderson Carty — who has publicly declared he will contest the Rural West Constituency as an independent candidate in the next general elections constitutionally due in 2023 — defended his position on the popular show last week, stating that the club had been without a major sponsor for many years.

Carty admitted that the sponsorship hinged on the willingness of the team to brand the uniforms in his name but said he allowed the team to make that decision on its own.

Rodney, who was also coach of the Leeward Islands cricket team, denied his issue with Carty was of a personal nature. 

“It’s not about Anderson Carty because if it was Gail Christian or [Richard Lewis] you would have heard me saying the same thing and I’ve repeated that over and over. This has nothing to do with Anderson Carty, it has to do with a politician’s name [going on the uniform. Since the great 1950 Empire and Veron Edwards Sr and KS [Keithley Sheppard] and all those guys would tell you that never happened. John Greene, our past manager would tell you that would never happen between the football and the cricket, it has never happened,” he said.

Anderson Carty Empire nation ended the preliminary round of the Super 40 competition on 20 points to finish in the top four and advance to the seminal round of the competition slated for Saturday and Sunday.

CUB Bethesda Golden Eagles finished at the top of the standings with 30 points while Jennings and New Winthorpes Lions were second and third with 22 and 20 points, respectively.

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