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OW Running Rebels call it quits from BEBL 2024

SportsOW Running Rebels call it quits from BEBL 2024

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Mar. 15, 2024

Nothing in life is perfect, not even in sports, and that’s because whether it be as a player or in the front office, you are dealing with a variety of characters with different personalities. Perfect seems to be unobtainable for the Belize Elite Basketball League (BEBL), as trouble is brewing once more, and it caused a fan-favorite team to pull out of the remainder of the 2024 season.

Before the season commenced, and to avoid a repeat of what happened in what was called “the Kirk Smith, Jr. saga”, the league announced that there would be unity from all teams to see the league extend to greater heights and raise the competition level for local and international players alike. However, that wasn’t the case, as Part 2 of that saga continues – not with Smith, whose appearance is yet to be announced by the Belize Hurricanes – but by Jeremiah Toney, who started the season with the Belmopan Trojans.

The drama first began to bubble when Toney publicly accused the Trojans of breaching their contract, and demanded a release. In a statement released by the Orange Walk Running Rebels, they claimed that they reached out to the league’s Commissioner, Glenn Gill, who verbally confirmed that there was no binding contract between both parties (Toney and Trojans). Gill then assured the Running Rebels that he would secure Toney’s release, and verbally committed to them once more by February 23, that he would have the release contract, thus being available for Rebels to sign, but the contract would be put on pause until a release was submitted by Trojans.

Nonetheless, the contract was signed for Toney to be a member of the Running Rebels; but in an owners meeting held by Gill, it was announced that Toney had signed two contracts, thus leading to him being suspended for a year. Rebels claim that they had received verbal approval from Gill that the signing would be valid, and that there was no valid contract submitted between Trojans and Toney.

To add fire to the situation, Gill announced that Toney would be suspended for a year for violation of league rules, and the Rebels were scheduled to play on March 9, which they won against Western Ballaz of Cayo with a suspended Toney playing. Ballaz promptly protested the game, and won by forfeit because of Toney playing for Rebels illegally. Now, Rebels are alleging that they were not convening to a Disciplinary Committee hearing, and were threatened by Gill with expulsion. In response to that, Rebels reportedly offered Gill the opportunity to resign as they believe he isn’t fit for the role, or they will remove themselves from the season, which they ultimately did.

The BEBL then issued a statement regarding Running Rebels’ exit from the remainder of the season, mentioning that only six teams will now be participating, and all records involving the Rebels’ aborted participation will be expunged, including points won and lost.

“Although this is a gloomy day for the BEBL, it comes on the heels of our historic showcase game on Friday night that saw a record 4,700 basketball fans pack the civic centre in a show of the strength and potential that the new unified league and its revenue sharing model can accomplish. The rest of the BEBL will move on in earnest and let the product on the court speak for itself. Our sponsors are getting the promised exposure and more are coming on board after every successful weekend,” the BEBL release said.

An adjustment of the remaining games schedule is yet to be posted.

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