A debate between Football Association attorney Dr Emir Crowne and SportsMax executive producer, Jamaican George Davis, became heated to the point where the prominent attorney said he might consider not doing future interviews on the Jamaican network.
Crowne was discussing United TTFA’s T&T High Court victory over FIFA in which, on Tuesday, Judge Carol Gobin ruled that FIFA’s imposition of a normalisation committee to replace the William Wallace-led TTFA executive as null and void. United TTFA were defended by attorneys Crowne, Matthew Gayle and Jason Jones.
The discussion quickly shifted to a tweet Crowne made in response to a Facebook comment from Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Gobin’s judgement. A debate ensued between Davis and Crowne and the attorney appeared to become irate.
“If this is how you intend to conduct interviews in the future, then please do not contact me,” Crowne declared, later adding, “If you allow people to finish, as opposed to sensationalising issues as SportsMax tends to do.”
“There was no sensationalism. It was putting (things) in context,” replied Davis.
“We are making it clear that when you say things and we challenge them, you should accept that we have a right to challenge what you say.
“We have a right of defence, and in the same way that you say if this is the way that we are going to conduct interviews that we should not call you, if this is how you are going to conduct yourself when you come here, we are not going to call you, sir,” Davis declared.
“But, we have respect for you and we are trying to discuss the ruling here.”
Crowne’s tweeted response to Dr Rowley read: “A sitting Prime Minister berating a High Court decision within hours of its release would be an absolute scandal in any other country except the Republic of OH-GUUD-GIH-DEM.”
Crowne argued that Rowley’s comments might have been inappropriate.
“Thanks for posting my tweet there. The rebuke is exactly as you read it... But Trinidad being Trinidad, it’s just seen as more bacchanal and the usual oh ghood, look the prime minister showing then up,” Crowne had said to SportsMax’s Mariah Ramharack.
Davis drew to Crowne’s attention that British PM Boris Johnson had also criticised a court ruling without censure.
“... Johnson did criticise Lady Hale, the president of the Supreme Court in Britain, after she ruled that his prorogation of parliament was illegal... he (Johnson) did criticise the ruling, even though he said that he would abide by it. And then the attorney general Geoffrey Cox went into the House of Parliament and gave Lady Hale’s ruling both barrels and the speaker of the house Jacob Rees-Mogg also did the same.”
Davis explained that he had cited the example to show that another prime minister’s criticism also “did not trigger a probe”.
“It has happened and the sky has not caved in on Boris Johnson’s head.”
Crowne insisted that Davis’ reference was flawed.
“The decision made by Lady Haile was a decision of the Supreme Court. It was a final decision, therefore one can make comments about the final decision. There is still an appeal window, there is still... Why are you shaking your head, then?” Crowne asked abruptly.
Davis replied, “Dr Crowne, just admit you were caught on the point. You said there was no criticism of Dr Rowley for saying what he said, and I pointed out to you something that was said by a prime minister. I am saying that Johnson did criticise it and there was not the public criticism of a kind that you are saying is not attending to the situation with Dr Rowley. That is all that I am saying.”
The debate came to a crescendo and following a period of silence from Crowne, a less combative Lance Whittaker took over the interview with the United TTFA attorney.