Religion Enters The Sports Arena
Basseterre, St.Kitts – Nevis
St. Kitts Amateur Baksetball Association
April 11, 2010
The defending 2009 St.Kitts Amateur Basketball Association SKABA Champions the Horsfords Ghetto Roots have officially given notice of it’s intention to mount a legal challenge on the ban of one of its players, Mr. Dale Rochester.
During the first half of the 2009 season the player was informed by SKABA officials that he could no longer play with his religious head-wrap. The Officials stated that the religious head dress worn by the followers of Bobo Shanti is in violation of F.I.B.A. international rules which govern the rules of the local division. It is against the religious doctrine of Bobo Shanti to display one’s head in public and as such it is a religious practice to wrap ones head in a turbon.
Rochester had been playing in said wrap for at least 2 seasons prior with the Cayon Lions Basketball team during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Head Coach of the Ghetto Roots team Dr. Garfeild Alexander gave notice to the SKABA via legal documents that the team intends to challenge the ban on Rochester on the following grounds:
1. The rule essentially was created to prevent players from wearing equipment that would cause injury to other players on the Court, as can be gleaned from the first line of the rule. The religious head covering of Mr. Rochester if properly worn would not be equipment that would cause injury, and as such should not be interpreted to fall within the definition of headgear, which clearly goes against the intention of the rule makers.
2. Mr. Rochester was never given the opportunity to be heard by the Association before the making of the decision, which clearly violates the rules of Natural Justice which must prevail in all situations.
3. To prevent Mr. Rochester from playing in the Association’s league as a result of his religious practices would result in discrimination against Rochester.
“EVERYONE has the constitutional right to practice their religious beliefs and the actions taken against this player are highly discriminatory”, said Ghetto Roots Head Coach Dr. Garfeild Alexander . ” The “head dress” does not in any way give the player an unfair advantage over opposing players nor does it obstruct opposing players or officials (hence there is no violation of the
F.I.B.A. rules). In fact his head dress disallows his hair from becoming a projectile and obstructing or causing physical damage”, the Head Coach continued.
Coach Alexander went on to say “would you prefer to see your son be a Bobo dread or a Blood or a Crip?”
Alexander said “Freedom of religion is considered by many people and nations to be a fundamental HUMAN RIGHT.
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an INDIVIDUAL or community, in PUBLIC or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, PRACTICE, worship, and OBSERVANCE,”.
Members of this sect can be seen through out St.Kitts-Nevis selling sugar cane and other products.
The document informed SKABA of the intention of Dr. Alexander on behalf of the Ghetto Roots Basketball Club to proceed to make application to the Court for an interpretation of the Rule relating to headgear, and to prevent the league from moving forward until the resolution of the issue.
Ghetto Roots won their 6th SKABA title in 2009 and are favorites to repeat and win a 7th Championship in 2010.