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Hurricane from the Caribbean
Bruce Newman
September 13, 1993
Miami linebacker Rohan Marley, son of the late reggae star Bob Marley, plays football to his own frenetic beat
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September 13, 1993

Hurricane From The Caribbean

Miami linebacker Rohan Marley, son of the late reggae star Bob Marley, plays football to his own frenetic beat

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He has seen trouble, slept with it in his house and then watched it blow a hole through his life. Three years ago his uncle Anthony Booker—Richard's younger brother and Bob's stepbrother, but only two years older than Rohan—returned from a trip to Jamaica complaining of headaches and a powerful fear that people were trying to kill his mother. Cedella reassured her youngest son that this was not true, but he told her, "Momma, I know that you're a strong woman, but I can see more than you're telling me now."

Anthony locked himself in the music room of the Booker house on Vista Lane, playing what the family calls "Bob-music" and emerging only to remove all the furniture but an old piano from the room. Then he began reading aloud from the Book of Revelation. "He prayed and he cried, he hollered and he cried, talkin' to Jah Rastafari," Cedella says. Rohan, who was 17, was bewildered as his grandmother took up her Bible and began to read from it through the door to Anthony.

The 15th chapter of Revelation speaks of "a sea of glass mingled with fire" and a temple that "no one could enter...until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended." Anthony vacuumed obsessively in the music room, purifying, preparing himself to catch a fire.

One Saturday he ranted from behind the locked door, then blew out a window with a blast from a 12-gauge shotgun. When he finally emerged from the room the next day, he was dressed all in white, including a bulletproof vest. As Anthony stormed out of the house, he said, "All I can see is greed, hate and jealousy."

In the driveway he demanded a set of car keys from Rohan. "He had a shotgun, and he wasn't going to back down," Rohan says. What could Rohan do?

An hour later Anthony was dead. After threatening shoppers at a nearby mall, he had fired at one policeman and was then killed by another with a bullet that lodged just above the bulletproof vest.

"Everything was pressure," Cedella says. "People have me in court about the estate, everything is goin' crazy, and the child is bearin' more than I'm bearin' myself. I believe Anthony took my death. But what Jah has done is well done. I had three sons, and they were God's gift to me. But it pleases Jah to take the first and the last. I am satisfied the way Anthony has gone from this world. It's not Anthony that kill anybody, somebody kill him."

"I think about him all the time," Rohan says. "I used to dream about him almost every night. I'd say, 'Why you left us, man? When you comin' back?' But I question nothing that Jah Rastafari does. Anthony did what he had to do, and he left. My father did what he had to do, and he left. It's preordained what's going to happen to me, but I can't sit back and wait for it to come. I have to work hard every day."

"I think he wants Anthony to be proud of him," Cedella says. Now Rohan must uphold the legacies not only of his uncle and his father but also of the great Miami linebackers who have gone before him. Get up, stand up. "I still haven't learned to hit like I want to hit," Rohan says. "I still lunge." But already he tackles so well that last year he coached Micheal Barrow, the Big East defensive player of the year. "I'm 6'2" and 235 pounds—and Rohan was hitting people harder," Barrow told The Miami Herald. "Finally I said, 'What do you do when you hit?' He said, 'I stay lower than them and keep my feet moving.' "

Moving is not a problem. "I'm never at a standstill," Marley says. "Pa-pa-pa-pow! I've got enough energy to last me two days straight." Singing, however, is a problem. "They say if you can talk, you can sing," Cedella says. "For Bob, singin' just a him-born thing. Rohan sings in his own way, but he don't have the singin' voice."

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