RSPBA suspends Kilpatrick for three months for Facebook comment

Published: August 31, 2012
(Page 1 of 1)

Jim Kilpatrick is its highest profile member, but the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has suspended the 16-time World Solo Drumming Champion and myriad-times drum corps champion-winning Leading Drummer of the Grade 1 House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band for three months for a single comment he made on Facebook.

Little did Kilpatrick know that when he wrote in a comments thread that the drumming result from the 2012 British Pipe Band Championship at Annan, Scotland, on June 30th, was “one of the most predictable shaftings on the calendar,” that it would result in the penalty that was handed down by the association. The three-month band means that Kilpatrick and the Shotts band cannot defend the World Drum Corps Championship, participate in the Cowal Championships, and Kilpatrick personally cannot play for a record seventeenth World Solo title in October.

A five-member RSPBA panel met with Kilpatrick for four hours on July 31st in at the RSPBA’s headquarters in Glasgow. Attending the meeting were Gordon Hamill, Chairman; Director Kevin Reilly; Paul Brown of the Yorkshire region; and another member from the London branch, who was flown in specifically for the event. At the meeting Kilpatrick reported offered his apology to the association, the adjudicator in question, and the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead band for the comment that he made.

On August 3rd Kilpatrick was presented with a letter telling him of his three-month suspension, citing rules 2.48 and 3.33, saying that the organization had a “duty” to protect its adjudicators “otherwise there would be no competitions.” The letters allegedly directed Kilpatrick to treat the issue as “an internal matter,” apparently hoping that it would not see the light of day, regardless of the fact that Kilpatrick is the most famous pipe band drummer in the organization, if not the world.

At the meeting, Kilpatrick reportedly suggested that a better and far less costly course of action would be for him and the judge simply to get together for a coffee to discuss their differences.

Shortly after the Facebook matter came to light, Shotts Pipe-Major Gavin Walker resigned following an emergency meeting with the band.

pipes|drums twice made a request to RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton for his organization’s perspective and comment, but received no response.

Suspensions within the RSPBA are rare and, according to the organization’s policies and rules, have to go through an extensive and lengthy process before being considered. The rapidity of the Kilpatrick decision is apparently unprecedented.

The Kilpatrick suspension bring in to question freedom of speech and what is and is not permissable for members of an association to say about adjuidicators or fellow members and is seen by many as a landmark instance for the pipe band worl in the advent of social media.

Two years ago the RSPBA judges panel reportedly threatened to boycott the organization if they did not receive better protection from comments from members.

The suspension brings in to question freedom of speech and what is and is not permissable for members of an association to say about adjudicators or fellow members, and is considered, for the pipe band world, a landmark case in the advent of social media.

Despite requests for an interview with various news outlets, including the BBC and the Glasgow Herald, Kilpatrick provided pipes|drums with the exclusive story.

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