Notify us, JADCO!
Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Andre Russell has said that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) is compromising his safety with how it handles visits for scheduled sample collection. The 29-year-old, currently finishing up a one-year ban for three whereabouts violations, said two collection agents visited his house recently for samples, but were not in any uniform identifying them as working for JADCO.
Russell is not the only athlete who has mentioned this, as a popular track and field athlete who asked not to be named, said that the same thing happened a number of times he was approached for samples.
During his anti-doping hearing for failing to give testing samples earlier this year, 400 metre sprinter Riker Hylton also complained that the agents who approached him were not in JADCO-branded clothing.
Russell said the thought that the two men could have been robbers posing as JADCO personnel crossed his mind while letting them into his house, and has called for the agency to do more with regards to notifying athletes of their scheduled visits beforehand.
"I'm talking about safety for athletes because these guys didn't dress official. They're wearing jeans pants and T-shirts without any JADCO markings. If they can give us guidelines to follow (about doping procedures), why can't they follow some as well?" he said.
Russell suggests that athletes should be notified ahead of scheduled visits by email.
"I'm not saying you notify athletes overnight so they can know ahead and clean out their system," he explained. "But, If you're gonna test an athlete and his testing time is 6-7 p.m., for instance, you could actually send an email at 6 o'clock in the morning to that athlete with their name and a picture of the person.
Now when you hear that JADCO is here to test you, you go and check your email and look at the faces and say "Yes, these are the guys I should let into my house".
"A lot of people here are thinking way ahead of other organisations. You have guys out there dressing like police and they are not.
Anyone can dress like a JADCO official and go into an athlete's house, hold them up with guns and rob them and gone. Nobody will know a man is getting robbed right next door to him."
JADCO chairman Alexander Williams admitted to not being aware of athletes having these concerns
"I don't know if that's the case, if it is an ongoing problem with the doping officials," Williams told The Gleaner.
"Those matters are really administrative matters that are to be handled by the executive director (Carey Brown). Whilst we oversee, I don't recall us having any particular problem with notification, or athletes expressing problems with notification when they are coming to take samples.
That is something that I will have to raise with the executive director."