West Indies won another World Twenty20 title last week, and Marlon Samuels once again played a huge role in the victory. He has had a tough few years, and he let off some steam after securing the trophy. He has had to cope with a lot of flak for that, but it is disappointing to see some of the things that have been said. They are quite unsavoury.
I understand that Geoff Lawson said Marlon was a member of some gangs in Jamaica, that he was involved with “shady people”. It is total rubbish. I don’t understand how somebody who knows absolutely nothing about Marlon can make statements like that. He is trying to influence the world about a young man he knows nothing about.
I’ve known Marlon for donkey’s years, ever since he was a baby. And I have never known him to be involved in any gangs. I am absolutely sure nobody in Jamaica can testify to him being involved in any gang either. He has been getting a lot of bad press because of what he did in the final against England, and what he said about Shane Warne.
But people have to understand that he has been going through a lot of grief in recent times. He was accused of getting financial rewards from bookmakers – he is totally innocent – and went through a two-year suspension because of that. The person that he was talking to was not even a bookmaker! So, naturally, he is a very angry man. He is very angry about that situation and, at one point, he almost stopped playing the game.
He has cheesed off a lot of people and a lot of people have cheesed him off – I won’t go into details regarding all that – but he has become an introvert because of it. He has a lot of anger. And sometimes he lashes out, because he feels that the whole world is against him. I’m not saying that is a good way to be, but because of what he has been through, he is like that now.
I have not spoken too much to him in recent times. But I was very close to him at one point. I used to help him out a lot, especially when he was going through his problems. I used to see him and talk to him a lot, and when he came back into the game, I tried to comfort him as much as I could. I remember when he came back and got a century in England, he thanked me for how I’d helped him.
But I’ve not spoken to him recently. I didn’t see what he did in the World Cup, because I don’t watch Twenty20 cricket – I read about it the next day. But he stood up for West Indies in the final, as he has done before, and it shows that he has the ability. And when he is battling against the world, he can show exactly what he is capable of. That is why he came out so strongly after the final. Apparently, he heard that Warne had made disparaging comments about him, during commentary, and they have history going back to the Big Bash League. Back then, I had spoken to Marlon about the incident.
Marlon lashed out after winning the final because when someone has been as scarred as he has been, it is easy for him to lash out after that sort of performance. That is his way of saying: “Here I am. I have been wronged, but I am till here, winning the World Cup for my country.”
People have to understand that Samuels has been going through a lot of grief in recent times. He was accused of getting financial rewards from bookmakers – he is totally innocent – and went through a two-year suspension because of that. The person that he was talking to was not even a bookmaker! So, naturally, he is a very angry man. He is very angry about that situation and, at one point, he almost stopped playing the game.
He is 35 years old, and he has already been through a lot. So much that, at one point, he was just staying at home all the time. He didn’t step out of the house because some people thought he was a crook. He is not. And it’s hard to face the world at those times, when you’re convicted of something you did not do. There is a gentleman at Melbourne Cricket Club by the name of Donald McNaughton, who played a huge role during those periods, trying to keep him on track. I know he will be happy he put in that effort.
I don’t think anything I say will change his situation right now. But I’ve told him before that the world is not against him. All he has to do is go out and play good cricket, and let that talk for him. Eventually, he will understand that the world that he lives in is a sympathetic one. If he continues to play his game, people will come around.
Sometimes when you react the way he has, it makes things a little more difficult. He is still an immature person, as far as I’m concerned. He is over 30, and people think his career will be over soon, but he is still a young man as far as normal life is concerned. He still has more than half his life to go. As time goes by and people get more mature, they understand what life is all about. I’m absolutely sure Marlon will do that as well.
When you know that you’ve been wronged, and that too by the people that you looked up to and thought would defend you, it’s difficult to deal with. It’s hard to bounce back immediately and be normal. I would just want him to keep going, because people from afar will always keep talking. They do that because Samuels sometimes celebrates with a lot of exuberance – he took off his shirt after the final, and that’s going over the top, to some. People will always look to target such figures and try bringing them down as much as they can.
I don’t know why some people like to pull others down. That is just human nature, I suppose. But that is something Samuels should and will understand, eventually.