Sunday, September 02, 2012

Fair Play: Decision, derision, confusion

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Sept. 3)

I REALLY don't know why Cristy Ramos is blasting the PFF Disciplinary Committee's decision on her sexual harassment complaint against Lexton Moy and Angel Aldeguer because even if the committee threw out her complaint, she won.

"Sexual harassment," as we were instructed to say in our talks with students during women's month in college,"is not about sex, but  power. Who had power over whom?"

As the match commissioner, she had power over the players, so I guess that's why the committee's head,  Atty. Enrico Ingles, said in his decision, "We do not find any grounds upon which to favor her claims as the elements under RA 7877 are absent."

And--this is why I think Cristy won in this round--despite saying that, the committee still suspended Moy, Aldeguer, James Younghusband and Denis Wolf for one international game for "breakdown in discipline in the locker room. And, there's more, Dan Palami and Michael Weiss got a two-match ban for failure of leadership, while Edzel Bracamonte got one.

Moy mentioned the "Cup B" comment, Aldeguer reportedly made his best bench model imitation, while James was the captain who "failed to control" his teammates. Wolf owned the boobs that elicited the Cup B comment.  I don't know what Bracamonte's fault is but Dan and coach Weiss missed the pre-match inspection, because, I learned, they were called for an inspection of the pitch due to the heavy rains.

The sexual harassment complaint was thrown out but it's like someone with a bruised ego suing somebody for libel after hearing whispers, only to be told by a judge, "No, there's no libel, but, let's jail them for a month."

By the way, Cristy complained about the length of time it took the PFF to decide on the matter, and I sympathized with her, until I read a timeline of the events in Bonnie Ladrido's blog. On March 2, the PFF met Cristy, and on March 5, seven folks were told to air their sides, four days later, PFF asked four more to air their comment.  The PFF received their replies between March 8 and 23. On April 18, PFF receive Cristy's official complaint that was dated March 11, and on April 27, she got copies of the statement of the 11 individuals, and was given a week to respond.  A week later, she requested for an extension until May 5, but never submitted her reply.  The committee waited for nine more days before telling her, her failure to reply meant the case was "submitted for resolution," which, of course, took more time.

It was a long shot, and like how long shots go, she didn't get it.  But she got them punished.

Now, where does that leave the team?

They have friendlies next week and will the suspensions be in effect?  In his statement, Dan said they've asked for a  delay in the execution, pending appeal.  But that's only his side, will that be granted?

Or we will be seeing new faces in the Azkals bench in the friendlies?

As to the players, Cristy said she filed the complaint because she wants them to be more respectful of officials and be mindful that they represent the country.  Though I’d never judge a team in any sport by the way it behaves in the minutes before a match—everyone’s got different way of handling jitters—I have a feeling this episode will lead to a more official-friendly atmosphere.

As for Dan and Coach Weiss, whose leadership has been questioned?  I think the AFC Challenge Cup bronze medal tells you what kind of leaders they are, not their absence in the pre-match inspection.

Call it blind loyalty if you will, I just don’t think the guy who saved Philippine football deserves a ban, and certainly not for failure of leadership.

We wouldn’t have the Azkals if he failed as a leader.

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