Fair Play: Army's Betita deserves a Balkman ban

PETRON Blaze Boosters import Renaldo Balkman went bonkers in the final seconds of their loss to the Alaska Aces, harassing three officials, his assistant coach, a few teammates and eventually lunging at the throat of Arwind Santos who only tried to pacify him.

The result? The PBA has banned the former New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets player from the PBA for life.

But wait, according to the PBA media bureau chief, it's not a lifetime ban, it could be just for a year or so.


Here's the PBA decision, "For initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum...import player Renaldo Balkman is hereby meted the following penalties : 1. Ban from playing in the Philippine Basketball Association;  and 2. A fine of P250,000.00."

Now, tell me, is that a lifetime ban or not?  

Whether it's a lifetime ban or a "lifetime ban as amended by the PBA media bureau chief," one thing's clear, the rest of the PBA players better behave.  Do a Balkman and you'd lose your livelihood.  

As for me, I didn't see the ban coming.  I thought Balkman--who had gotten his team's support after the incident--would get a suspension.

But some say, the commissioner's hand was forced because the incident happened on national TV.

And guess what's another incident that happened on national TV?  How about a player from the Philippine Army lashing out at a UFL official?

In a game that, according to Roy Moore of GMA, had decisions “decisions favoring the Armed Forces team, even ones contrary to the rules of football…the Army couldn’t take advantage and went into the break a goal behind.”

Philippine Army’s Rodrigo Betita, before taking a kick at the linesman, also kicked the ball at his direction after getting a pass. It’s a disgusting behavior that, like Balkman’s outburst, doesn’t have a place in Philippine sports—whether televised or not.

The AFP teams, before the Azkals resurgence, was a big boost to Philippine football, getting national team members as enlisted personnel so they can continue playing while earning a decent wage.

But this is 2013 and this latest incident—taken into account with the competitiveness of the Army, Air Force and Navy teams in the UFL—should prod the AFP honchos to re-evaluate its participation in football.

And yeah, ban Betita too, for this lifetime and the next. 

Like the Balkman ban, it’s all about sending a message.  I hope the UFL won't balk at this one.


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