Fair Play: Walking out should not be an option

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 14 edition)
LOST in the drama regarding the University of the Visayas’ walkout against USC in Medellin is the nonchalant way some treat walkouts in basketball—that they are normal and unavoidable. And that, I think, is the reason for the problem itself.

Here’s a newsflash for those who think that way—walkouts are NOT normal. Basketball coaches get away with it because of the absence of a governing body here that oversees the sport; if you walkout on Ricky, you can get away with it when you play in Mike’s tournament next.

That’s not the case in football; walk out on Ricky and you’ll pay for it dearly. Worse, rules stipulate that once you walk out, not only do you get an automatic ban, you automatically lose the right to appeal. Remember the guys involved in the Aboitiz Cup fracas? They weren’t banned from just the Aboitiz Cup but all football-related activities.

The coach, as expected, blamed the refs for the physicality, as if they were acting like cornermen telling the players how to deliver a punch. Gary Cortes also said walkouts are normal and they just happen.

Well no coach that you think that way explains why you now face such predicament, with a mayor calling for your resignation.

The NBA is physical, how come walkouts aren’t normal there? Because players know they get punished, unlike here, when they get away with it plus the appearance fee and the whole kitchen set. And it also takes two to tango, if USC was getting physical, what were the UV players doing? Playing chess?

Mayor Ramirez exposed UV in a series of online rants. I think if not for his posts, this incident would have swept under the rug. Now he wants even the Cesafi to take action. But again, because of the current setup, Cesafi can do squat in this as it’s not involved. For Cesafi, the walkout never happened because the match wasn’t held under its tutelage.

Perhaps it’s time to change things in Cebu basketball. Perhaps it’s time for the major tournament organizers like Cesafi and the CCSC and what-have-you to gather together, come up with an agreement that any team that walks out of any of their tournament gets an automatic six-month ban in all tournaments here.

It’s one of the things that I like under the Cebu Football Association set-up.

Under that setup, primadona coaches and teams who cowardly opt out when the going gets tough and blame anyone expect the real culprit have no place in Cebu basketball.


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