Players show strength in the aftermath of the recent shooting


Liberian soccer players visit the wounded, denounce the troublemakers.

Members of the Liberian soccer players including Seyon Nyanwleh, executive director of A-Mon-Nue Sports & Social Association, which sponsored the suspended tournament, Kerper Dwanyen, President of the Old-Timers players, Ivon Brown, Coach of the Old-Timers, Oblayon Nyemah, SR. and others paid a visit yesterday to their fellow players and the little boy who injured on July 12 shooting that took place at the Brooklyn Center’s Adult Education Center playground

Players began their visit at Jemel Jlopleh’s home, the 7-year-old boy who was one of the three injured at the shooting. Jemel smiled from the couch he was laying on as we came into the apartment, which actually was not far from where the incident took place. Jerome Jlopleh, the father of the boy thanked to the players over their visit while the players expressed their deep sorrow & frustration to the family.

“It could have been worse” said little Jemel’s father, Jerome Jlopleh, speaking to the African News Journal. “ I was in New Hope when the shooting took place and I was expecting the worst but thank God it turns out this way.”

Seyon Nyanwleh of A-Mon-Nue Sports speaking on behalf of his Association and the players explains about their visit, “We are here to show our strength, support and respect to the victims of the senseless shooting and also apologize to both to our fellow teammates and their families”

“We very upset over this unfortunate incident and I hope it will be the last evil act ever in our community “ said Kerper Dwanyen, owner of the Acme Mortgage Corporation & the President of Old-Timers. “ I think these brave people took the shots for us. It could have been any one of us. I want to tell them that they are not alone, we are with them during this difficut time for them and we praying for their quick recovery.” he added.

Ivon Brown, Coach of the Old Timers team stressed the importance of the community leaders, players and the police to come together and take another look into these issues very seriously. He said the police saw how serious we are to cooperate with them by quickly apprehending the culprits and we need to sit down to prevent nightmares like this before it occurs.

Some of the players feel the police could do more if they work with the community closely and take swift measures against anyone found a threat to safety of others.

“We feel a collective guilt” said Vincent, one of the players who spoke to us during the meeting at the home of Trocon Parker, one of the injured players. “This is not the first time the police suspended our games. In this case, I can accept. But we have seen time and time again, when any disturbances occur, instead of arresting the trouble makers, we are punished because of the actions of a few and that is not right.” he added. Vincent said, “Look, for example, at the Virginia Tech shooting, it didn’t take that long before everything went back to normal, but for us we regularly get suspension or cancellation from the law enforcement regardless of any other reasonable consideration. “I think it is rewarding the criminals and punishing the community, most of whom are law abiding citizens” Vincent added. Oblayon Nyemah of MarketLink Realty agreed. “If you look closely, in most of those incidents, none of the offenders was associated with any of those events, whether it is this last soccer game or any previous one. They just show up to create disturbance & that satisfied them for some reason. Therefore, with the help of law enforcement, we can show them life goes on after they go to jail but suspension or cancellation give them satisfaction and we can’t reward them.”

Early last month, both players and the police met in Brooklyn Center to hammer out some of the misunderstanding ahead of the expected busy summer events in what the organizers called “Friendly Conversation & Information Gathering.” The purpose of that meeting was to strengthen the relationship between the players & the police which actually paid off in how well the players responded in the latest incident, which the Brooklyn Center Police Chief praised while cautioning against some players’ pursuit of an armed individuals.