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USACA official seeks colleague's suspension

Peter Della Penna

October 18, 2012

Comments: 6 | Text size: A | A

USA Cricket Association (USACA) treasurer John Thickett has asked president Gladstone Dainty and the board to consider suspending executive secretary Kenwyn Williams and investigate his role in a protracted and angry exchange with journalists and stakeholders on the official USACA Facebook page. Dainty, according to emails obtained by ESPNcricinfo, has asked other board members to give their input on the issue before making a decision, and at least one other senior official - vice-president Michael Gale - has criticised Williams' actions.

In his response, Williams argued that his outbursts on the Facebook page have been positive for USACA because it has resulted in increased traffic and visitors to the page.

The matter relates to an article that referred to a widening rift between Williams and other members of the board over a press release issued earlier this month. The article - by this reporter - was posted on USACA's Facebook page, which is managed by Williams, with a preface calling it an example of "unethical journalistic bias". The resulting thread resulted in heated exchanges between Williams - commenting under the USACA name - and other readers.

It prompted emails from Thickett and others critical of Willams' actions. "I have received communications from several USACA Board members and cricket stakeholders regarding USACA postings on USACA's Facebook account operated by Williams," Thickett wrote in an email on Wednesday afternoon. "They don't believe the USACA postings reflect the views of USACA and are in fact denigrating to various individuals, organisations and USACA. I am requesting you as president to consider suspending Williams from his role as executive secretary pending an investigation of the postings and a review and decision by the Board."

In his email, Gale pointed to the commercial opportunities that could be put at risk. "We are at a very sensitive time with the development of cricket in the US," Gale wrote, a reference to USACA's partnership with New Zealand Cricket to form a professional domestic Twenty20 league next summer as part of Cricket Holdings America. "The need to build one community that shares goals and objectives has been put very much at the front of the group in the last 12 to 15 months. It is essential that we continue to drive forward in a positive, collaborative and agreed manner. The types of communications we are seeing from Mr Williams directly impede our collective abilities to do that both in the US and with our partners at a more global level."

Email responses made by Williams back to the board allege that his family has been threatened and "is now secured by police officers" in New Jersey, where he lives. He also made the statement that the Facebook thread has resulted in increased visitors to the page. USACA's Facebook page had been "liked" by 200 people on October 13 and that number has grown to 300 by October 18.

"We are at a place where we have never been before," Williams wrote. "The Facebook feed and the Twitter feed will keep growing. Maybe Michael [Gale] can explain what trending on Twitter means! Instead of looking at the negative, look at the positive marketing position the brand USACA has attained. By the way this is no defence by me. I am actually indifferent as to your decision. This board has disrespected me on several levels already and has a history of making excuses to suspend its members."

The USACA website remained silent on the issue till Thursday afternoon, when a message was posted on its front page in an attempt to restore order.

"USACA wants to make it clear that the postings on a Facebook site purporting to represent USACA are neither representative of the board and organisation, nor should this Facebook site, comments and use of the official USACA logo be seen as USACA's official Facebook presence," said the message on usaca.org. "We are in the process of investigating how this site is being managed. Until this is resolved please do not reference any Facebook or Twitter site as sanctioned USACA content and opinions."

Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Punjin on (October 21, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

Nothing but USACA gang at its best.. what ever happened to freedom of expression. This is USA..IF new zealand cricket & other sponsors were intelligent they would leave any tieup on plans with USACA

Posted by   on (October 19, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

HAHAHa no!! I don't think that the ICC is doing well in USA. Canada has large percentage of south asiab population, and they would be far better off spreading cricket there first. Then tap into Arab countries, i see a HUGE future in sponsorship deals and income and talent with native arab not those South Asian forighnors there. And then target China and Japan. China could be the next India in ICC marketing and same thing for Japan and that is a 10 year plan. Then target the netherlands and Germany and France etc. AND don't forget to keep doing what there doing with Ireland. Ireland cricket is doing very well for the ICC at the moment, then after the European plan which will take an additional 5 years. Go for the USA in 2030 the ICC is NOT benefiting from going for USA so quickly go for China and Europe first

Posted by SnowSnake on (October 19, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

I think ICC is trying to identify more revenue streams to minimize the impact BCCI has on ICC. Unfortunately, it is not happening. All these new premier leagues are pretty much useless because of empty stadiums (just look at CLT20). Unless cricket becomes a hundreds of millions of dollar game in the US, ICC cannot recruit top talent. Few million dollars with massive amount of work in marketing, organization is not going to attract talent in the USA. So USACA will always have trouble no matter who works for it. Also, laws and costs in the USA are different, so I just don't see cricket taking off in the USA. ICC might be better served by tapping European or Hong Kong market. Currently, it is barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by samedwards on (October 18, 2012, 21:29 GMT)

That Facebook thread was by far the most entertaining thread I have ever read. Thank you Mr. Wiilliams..

Posted by   on (October 18, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

Thats nice! Make Williams responsible for everything and just let him go. No dear friends, what needs to go is the machinery called USACA. It doesnt work anymore. It is broken beyond repair. If the ICC had genuine concern for developing cricket the first thing they would do is launch an investigation into the entire USACA workings. This FB outburst is a mere tip of the iceberg.

Posted by Ganesh_Sanap on (October 18, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

3rd successive Secretary of USACA on his way out. Williams toh giyo :) (ala Ashok Saraf in Karan Arjun saying "Thakur toh Giyo"). The exchange between Williams & people around the world on USACA Facebook page was deplorable. at best. btw, Peter, what was better, selling cutlery to housewives or writing about USA Cricket Association ? :)

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