West Indies Players Association to Cozier: “He who asserts must prove”
WIPA has noted with interest a number of revelations in Mr. Tony Cozier’s response to WIPA regarding his April 18th, 2010 article headlined “Pollard to sue WICB”.
Mr. Cozier in the said article wrote, “Hunte’s fears would have been validated by a letter from the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) during last month’s series against Zimbabwe concerning Kieron Pollard’s position. The WIPA claimed that Pollard’s selection on the West Indies team meant that he would miss the first two matches of the IPL season for the Mumbai Indians, causing him to lose a portion of his US$750,000 contract. They (WIPA) stated that their lawyers, acting on behalf of Pollard who is not on contract to the WICB, would sue for loss of earnings”.
He went on further in his article, “The WICB confirmed receipt of the letter but is not disclosing where the matter lies at present”.
WIPA, in its response on April 18th2010 asked Mr. Cozier to produce the letter, (“WIPA calls on Mr. Cozier to release the contents of the WIPA letter from which his information is said to be derived and which he purportedly has in his possession.”)
On April 25th 2010, Mr. Cozier in light of WIPA’s request for production of the letter responded.
According to Mr. Cozier:
“Since my report was based on information from usually reliable sources whom I trust and that I have never had its letter in my possession, it would be helpful if WIPA itself releases it to back its position.”
As is well known, in matters of deliberation – he who asserts must prove. Mr. Cozier having said to the public that such a letter exists and was worded as he said it was, has been asked to prove his assertion. Instead of so doing he calls on WIPA to provide proof that his assertion is wrong. Mr. Cozier made the first utterance, by reporting to the public that the letter existed. It is for him to prove, and not for WIPA to disprove.
WIPA, in response to Mr. Cozier’s first article has had to correct the misinformation and has stated its position and therefore cleared the air as he has requested by advising that “it is awaiting the opinion of its legal advisors and will revert to it on this issue when it receives that opinion.”
Regrettably what is clear from Mr. Cozier’s revelations is that he has never had the letter in his possession and he did not attempt to verify information provided by a source, no matter how reliable or unreliable. Certainly, he has not contacted WIPA in that respect for the last two years.
Mr. Cozier, in his second article accused the WIPA President of haranguing him two years ago on a telephone call and states that he then realized that “Dinanath Ramnarine considers reports ‘fair and balanced’ only when they agree with his point of view.”
The WIPA President categorically denies that he has ever harangued Mr. Cozier in fact Mr. Ramnarine’s discussion with Mr. Cozier was related to another matter. On that occasion WIPA was concerned about biased reporting and, out of respect for Mr. Cozier as a senior journalist and commentator, Mr. Ramnarine spoke to Mr. Cozier on the telephone. Fortunately Mr. Ramnarine had put his concern in writing.
On March 23rd 2007 an email from Mr. Ramnarine to Mr. Cozier reads:
I am disappointed that articles are being written by you without giving us an opportunity to confirm or deny what is written. I noticed however that the WICB is being quoted.
Tony, we are not asking for favours from you or anybody but just fair chance. I hope that is not too much to ask for.”
The journalists’ work is to inform the public about the facts in a balanced and fair manner. If Mr. Cozier received information of an act by WIPA, in our view, he has a duty to try at the very least to verify the information before releasing it to the public as “truth”, even if it means having a conversation with someone he would rather not converse with or sending an email requesting confirmation or information.
WIPA does not intend to get into any war of words with anyone from the media however WIPA will not allow misrepresentation or misinformation to go unanswered particularly when such could be detrimental to the organization and/or the players it represents, and in this case, to a particular player whose future may be clouded by a reputation that was created by the media.