Race row rocks CTBF

Darryn Smith

Cape Town Baseball Federation (CTBF) has come under fire from one of its member clubs for the way they handled an alleged racist and offensive incident involving two coaches.

The matter between Johan Moses, head coach of Maitland Giants and Dubanville’s Darryn Smith, took place in the first week of December last year but was only resolved in August this year.

Smith was found guilty by the CTBF disciplinary committee for referring to Moses as “coloured” in a way meant to anger and degrade him.

Smith has in the past been a member of the coaching staff of the SA team and is now also available for selection as a player.

According to the Giants, Smith had told Moses in a heated exchange during the game in which Smith was pitching that “coloureds do not think baseball” and playing “bush baseball”. For his submission letter to the CTBF in response to the Giants letter, Smith wrote it was actually Moses who was abusive towards him.

He went on to explain that it got to a point where he had enough and said Moses was being a “scummy coloured guy now”. He, however, denied ever using the words “you coloureds don’t think baseball”.

Smith wrote that he unsuccessfully tried to reach out to Moses to apologise.

CTBF DC acknowledged the manner in which the language towards Moses was harmful, emotional and upsetting and Smith was subsequently suspended for four games, suspended until the end of the 2020/21 season.

The matter was finalised in February which upset the Giants who felt the sanction was a slap on the wrist.

Subsequently, Giants submitted an appeal and demanded a harsher sentence that included education and sensitivity behaviour, saying unfair discrimination and human rights violations should not be pushed under the carpet.

In August this year, the appeal committee found the sanction handed down by the DC to be inadequate for the infringement and decided to suspend Smith from all baseball activities for 12 months effective at the beginning of the next season.

The sanction also has four years which is suspended provided Smith agrees to 100 hours of coaching and development which is to be administered by the CTBF.

Should he not participate in coaching and development he will then be suspended from all baseball activities for five full years.

The appeal also recommended Smith participates in a race relations transformation programme.

Despite the outcome of the appeal, Giants are questioning the snail’s pace at which CTBF dealt with the matter and say they were seemingly looking to just sweep it under the carpet. They questioned why it had to take an appeal for them to realise a matter as sensitive as that of race needed a harsher sentence.

Maitland Giants chairperson Kevin Inglis said it seemed CTBF didn’t consider the matter as deserving of serious attention as they did not understand the sensitivity around the subject.

“Why was a matter that took place in December only finalised now?

“It could be that they do not understand the sensitivity of the subject and how it feels to the affected persons.

“The racial undertones are always there and this just to say that we will tolerate it, but it’s disappointing that the federation doesn’t seem to care enough when these matters are brought to their attention.

“We are fine with the sentence handed to Smith but the problem is how this matter is not being communicated by CTBF in a way that will make sure such instances do not happen in our sport anymore.

“Sport is supposed to be one place where we can all be united and it’s important that we don’t let this sport die because of things like racism.

“CTBF could have at least issued a statement that addresses this incident to show that they too will not tolerate instances of racism and descrimination,” said Inglis.

CTBF is yet to respond to questions sent to them regarding the matter.