Athletics fans across the Caribbean were stunned by the news that several Jamaican runners have tested positive for banned substances, including former world record holder Asafa Powell and fellow Olympian Sherone Simpson. As a result of the failed tests, neither runner will be able to participate in the upcoming World Championships in Moscow. (Both athletes have released statements expressing disappointment with the test results and asking for support from the public.)
Paul Doyle, the agent for Powell and Simpson, blamed Canadian trainer Christopher Xuereb for the failed tests. Xuereb, who had worked for controversial Dr. Anthony Galea said the runners were looking for a scapegoat – but many netizens wondered why the athletes started working with this new trainer. On Air Jamaica's Facebook page, this became a hot topic of discussion…
Sharon Nelson wondered why due diligence wasn't paid:
Really?? Nobody never think to check him out?? If it was one a we, all we long dead granny dem a investigate before dem even consider we fi di werk!!
who hired this guy again, his background should have been checked before hiring this gentleman what exactly were we thinking hiring this dude, he was fired 3 years ago and we hired him for athletes why, something in something man, something is up
Many commenters felt there was a conspiracy to undermine Jamaican athletes because of their dominance in track and field. Maureen Miles, for instance, didn't believe Asafa Powell would suddenly start doping at this point in his career:
this is a whole set up they hate our guts and they will do anything to dash our athletes under the trains im [sic] so dam[n] mad look how long asafa going through his problem and never take no drugs. we have natural talents…dem cant stop us…eternal father guide our nations from those vampires out there… one love jamaica proud jacan
On the Facebook page for Jamaica's public affairs program “All Angles”, some commenters felt the athletes were set up, while others thought that they should take responsibility for their actions. Koraine Hard-earz Mcgowan didn't believe the athletes meant to cheat:
I think that the supplements were ingested by the athletes not with the intention to cheat but just following advise [sic] from a person deemed a professional and proper investigations should be done and if they were tricked or force [sic] in any way the person [who] gave them the drug in that case should face criminal charges.
Terrence Attainable Henry felt the timing of the revelations was suspicious and that more would come to light:
Very unfortunate especially with the World Championships coming up, while evidence does show the presence of the banned substances i still belief [sic] more is there to the individual cases and with time the truth shall be known if its [sic] a case of sabotage or incidental ingestion because i know our athletes will not deliberately take banned substances that chemically have no benefit to their body
Theresa Jones also thought there was more to the story:
It's a really sad state of affairs, but I believe there's more to it than meets the eye. The timing for 1, (so close to the World Championships) leaves a lot to be desired. It just doesn't seem so very cut and dried! What will happen now, is that our contingent to the game[s] will come under even more scrutiny and the speculation will be rife! I don't believe such veteran athletes would be so stupid at this point in their careers, when there is so much more to lose than to gain! Esp in Asafa's case!
Domonique Jones felt the local authorities need to do more to protect Jamaican athletes:
it has long been said that the only reason that jamaica has been performing so well is because we were on drugs and i think that they are just reporting positive tests to show that jamaica is still testing. I don't know if they have one but their [sic] should be a committee of some sort with qualified individuals to defend our local runners because i'm sure that [the] majority of them will not take any form of prohibited drug knowingly…
Kaj YsofreshUpsetter Too Cute felt the athletes were too experienced to use banned substances:
I think that the athletes are mature enough to know what kind of drugs they are to take if they are feeling pain etc so its obvious that there was a mixup with the tests or someone deliberately did something to set them up because what a coincidence three of our athletes are tested positive…
In contrast, Marvin Adetumbi Campbell felt the athletes have only themselves to blame:
Jamaicans seem to have a problem with accountability. We need to realise that athletics is a business and people will do anything to remain on top of their game. Did someone hold Asafa and Sherone at gun point and drench them like goat? They are grown adults with several years of experience. Give me a break!
come on now listen to dr wright… these athletes are responsible for what enter[s] there [sic] body, simple as that, remember the supplier has nothing to do with this, the pill is not illegal the athletes just [are] not suppose[d] to take this pill…simple as that… they all know what they are doing, if you pop a pill its [sic] a reason why, and if it [is] helping you then there is something in it that is not for you…hello…they are all guilty…looking for a high another level