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The Dean Jones “Terrorist” Saga

By Orin Davidson

When it was initially revealed that Dean Jones had described a player as a terrorist, it was easy to react with revulsion at the former Australian Test player.

Most fans around the world know Jones is now a television analyst and the thought of him desecrating a player’s character on air during the course of a game, is tantamount to a heinous crime.

When it finally was confirmed Jones’s remark was not only made off- mike, but was meant to be a joke during a commercial break that escaped into the South African TV airwaves, Jones did not seem that crazy after all.

But because these are seriously sensitive times, Jones was taken to task and subsequently summarily dismissed from the commentary panel.

The fact that the player Hashim Amla happens to be a Muslim erroneously gave the impression Jones was stereotyping everyone from the religion around the world especially when “terrorist” is such a hated word these days.

The fact is Amla happens to be the lone Muslim in the South African team and cannot even be thought of as representing the religion as he is not even from its epicenter in Asia.

Nevertheless Jones’ remark was taken to heart by the Muslim owner of the Ten Sports television company who hardly batted an eyelid in getting rid of the Australian.

The manner of Jones dismissal though leaves one to wonder whether he was not dealt with too harshly. The fact that he was sent packing without even a chance to properly defend himself and was forced to make tracks out of Sri Lanka within hours of the incident, smacks of a heavy knee jerk reaction.

Apart from the reality that the act was not deliberate, Jones’ remark in jest pales in comparison to some of the vocabulary used by at least one other TV analyst around the world.

For some time now former England captain Ian Botham has a habit of referring to Australian players as convicts. He has not only done it once but almost every time he is in the booth with the Australia side on the field below.

No one has ever actually taken the issue seriously, knowing that Botham was once a player who has grown accustomed to thrash talking which is now part of the game as much every other strategy used.

Similarly Jones is a product of the trash talking era where name calling is common and accepted on all the grounds and dressing rooms around the world.

It is also now being revealed that Alma is actual known as “Terrorist” by his very own teammates which might have been the source of Jones’ remark.

If such is the case Jones must feel somewhat hard done by the treatment meted out by Ten Sports.

The fact that he apologized profusely to the player and the offended observers around the world should have been taken into consideration.

Although Amla went on describe the incident as sad and seemed offended, one would expect him to act politically correct.

So far Jones has received a measure of support from his former Australia team captain Allan Border.

Also his other jobs around the cricket TV world are secure, which is understandable given the obvious realization that Jones never meant to insult anyone.

It was an off- the- mike wisecrack which should not have been blown so much out of proportion.

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