Bryant barred from ballpark
Supervisors in Buckingham unanimously voted Monday to temporarily bar Jamie Bryant — the husband of Buckingham County Youth League (BCYL) President Denise Bryant — from county recreational facilities, including Gene Dixon Sr. Memorial Park.
The temporary ban is in place “until the board of supervisors can assess the complaints made against Mr. Bryant,” according to a July 11 letter to Denise from County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter.
In her letter, Carter said Jamie was “invited to provide the board with any information concerning his conduct in the events that occurred at the Gene Dixon Ball Park on July 6 … particularly the allegations that Mr. Bryant has an odor of alcohol on his person and his inappropriate conduct toward individuals from Amelia and other places. …”
The incident allegedly occurred during the conclusion of a District 4 Dixie Youth Baseball Majors League All-Starchampionship game in Buckingham between Buckingham and Amelia.
The action regarding Jamie came from District Two Supervisor Donnie Bryan during the end of the board’s July 10 meeting.
“Mr. Chairman, the board … (has) received multiple reports that the conduct of Jamie Bryant at a Buckingham County recreational facility on July 6 was inappropriate … I move that Jamie Bryant be temporarily barred from all county recreational facilities until the board of supervisors can assess the complaints made against Mr. Bryant … particularly the allegations that Mr. Bryant had an odor of alcohol on his person and his inappropriate conduct toward individuals from Amelia and other places.”
Bryan said during the meeting that Jamie was not “a coach at the time” of the incident but “was a spectator. But you can see the volume of emails we’ve received.”
District Four Supervisor Morgan Dunnavant said it was “incidental behavior that we don’t want transpiring at our facility.”
“No sir. It brings bad light on the county,” Bryan responded.
According to a statement by Buckingham County Sheriff’s Deputy E.S. Bryan provided to supervisors, he was notified by County Recreation Director Todd Shumaker that Jamie “had caused a scene with the Amelia dugout for no apparent reason … I located Jamie in the upper parking lot at the top of the steps and told him that he needed to leave the ballpark property. As I approached Jamie, I could visibly tell that he was intoxicated, and I could also smell a very strong odor of alcohol while talking to him.”
“I would like to say that the BCYL Board has not had an opportunity to perform an official investigation on the incident yet,” said BCYL Secretary Mary Stearrett when asked for comment from the league regarding the incident. “At this point, I do not believe we can make a comment until further investigation has been performed. I am not saying it happened or did not happen, but since we have not had time to conduct an official investigation, we cannot make a fair comment at this time.”
Efforts to contact Jamie and Denise Bryant were unsuccessful.
In addition to the statement from Bryan, seven letters or statements addressing the July 6 incident, including correspondence from Virginia Dixie Youth Baseball State Director Mason Day and Head Umpire Darryl Morton were included in board documents.
The barring comes days after a June 22 meeting between BCYL leadership and supervisors featuring discussion of allegations of people drinking alcohol at the park, along with coaches having consumed alcohol before or during games, use of profanity at the park and unprofessionalism and non-compliance with a recently agreed-to county permit.
“I spoke to a few Amelia parents as well and the Amelia coach and they all had the same story as to what had happened with Jamie,” Deputy Bryan said in his statement. “I was told by the coach, who is also a preacher, that Jamie jumped over an elderly war veteran at the fence just so he could verbally abuse and curse the Amelia dugout, which contained young teenage children. All reports and versions of this incident reflect that this verbal attack was unprovoked.”
“This morning at 8:30 a.m., I received calls and emails from Amelia parents with complaints about (Bryant). He appeared to be intoxicated and using very belligerent language to Amelia fans and Buckingham fans. This is not tolerated by our Dixie Youth Program,” Day said in a letter to the county recreation department and BCYL.
Morton said after he made a call during the game, “Jamie Bryant went off, told me I was taking from the kids (and) we were the worst umpire(s) and kept talking, saying, ‘Them two are taking away from the kids with these bad calls,’” Morton said. “On (that) note, I turned and told him, ‘You’re gone, you’re out of here.’ He told me ‘I’m not going anywhere, then looked over at Denise, his wife … and she said ‘You don’t have to leave.’ Then (Jamie) came up to the dugout fence and big-eyed me … If that’s how things are going to be run down there, they are in a world of trouble,” Morton said.
According to a letter from Lee Day, the head coach of the Amelia County Majors Dixie Youth Baseball team, which the Buckingham Majors played and defeated during the July 6 game, at the end of the game, he said “a man immediately ran up to our dugout, all but ran over an elderly man who was sitting at the fence … He started screaming and cursing at a few sections of other fans and then proceeded to go out on the baseball field to take pictures. The worse part of the entire incident is that there were three children standing beside me in the dugout who had to experience this man act like this.”
Lee Day said before he left the field, “I had numerous Buckingham fans come to me on the field apologize for his misbehavior. Even more Buckingham fans apologized as I exited the field and headed for the parking lot.”