Acting Commissioner Claude responds to Russell about suspension
By Buster Laing
Special to The FN
The Freeport News spoke with Acting Commissioner of the Grand Bahama Amateur Softball Association Edward Claude in a follow-up interview concerning the five year suspension of former national team player first baseman Larry Russell Jr. in June 2012 which appeared in September 6 issue of The Freeport News.
Claude presented this journal with the Letter of suspension for Larry Russell Jr. which states: "You have been suspended from participation in any league under the GBASA for five years because of the actions portrayed by you during a Slow Pitch game on Saturday, June 16, 2012."
Claude added that Russell's second violation came during his 10 game sit-out because of his behavior during the slow pitch championships.
In the letter, Claude said that Russell was asked to leave the playing field and again his behavior got the best of him.
"Russell verbally attacked the Executive committee of the GBASA, showing no respect for the persons in authority and because of this action, he was suspended for five years from the league," said Claude.
Claude confirms that he did receive a letter of apology from Russell for his behavior, but denied ever receiving an appeal letter.
Russell in yesterday's issue claimed he submitted an appeals letter.
"I was shocked to learn from Mr. Claude that he did not give the GBASA my letters and that he could not locate them. He did say however, that the league knew of my letters of appeal and apology," said Russell, who believes there is a double standard in the League.
"I was present at the softball park this season to witness a player assaulting another player with a bat.
"The player who assaulted the other player was allowed to play several games afterwards and only because people were expressing concerns of his eligibility, it was alleged that he was suspended for the remainder of the season.
"Honestly, that is a slap on the wrist in my opinion. I think he should have been banned from the softball league."
Russell added that in the past there were many assaults in the league between players and executives, but only minimal suspensions were given.
Russell believed the reason his suspension was so severe might be because he is from East End and is being discriminated against.
"My father always used to say that he never wanted his kids to play softball. Eventually he allowed us to play and we all turned out to be extremely good players who compete on the International Level.
"I had a conversation with my father Larry Russell Sr. lately and I asked him why he did not want his children to play in the league.
"He replied by saying that if you are from East End, Grand Bahama some rules were different for you, and that was his opinion," said Russell, who is the older brother of baseball star Desmond Russell and hails from McLean's Town, Grand Bahama.
"Well, that was his opinion and if I was suspended for so long for basically nothing because I originate from East End, then my father was absolutely correct in his judgment."
"I feel that my treatment by the GBASA was biased and discriminative."
In response to the claim of discrimination by the league because of his background?
"I have played with and coached players from East End like Sidney Thomas and Carolyn Laing and West End ...What does that have to do with anything? " said Claude.
"Your behavior speaks for itself."
© 2012 The Freeport News