By: Tony Lebron Atayde,, Jr.
Violoence has no place in sports and that should be non-negotiable. Sports is an activity that pits talent versus talent. There are sports like boxing where violence is the norm. However, there are still rules that protect the participants against actions that may cause undue damage.
The incident that happened in Davao, where there was a bench clearing melee in a DLSU – FEU game was a black eye to a beautiful sport that is close to the heart of many Filipinos. This was game between 2 educational institutions who play against each other in their mother league, the UAAP.
This not the first time that these 2 teams have had a brawl. Last year, a similar incident happened just prior to the UAAP opening. It is also not an isolated case. With fingers being pointed as to who started the Davao brawl, there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed. In the aftermath, lessons need to be learned and measures need to be adopted in order to make unfortunate events like this less likely to happen.
The first and most important is Accountability. All schools have a responsibility to adequately teach their student/athletes about discipline. Sports in itself demands discipline from its participants. However behavioral discipline is different from the discipline required for the sport.
Instead of finding blame on the other teams, schools have to look within and see what went wrong. Deal with your own and be accountable for your teams. If the schools do not do this, then it just tells the athletes that it’s okay.
Dealing with your own does not have to be in public. It can be done privately to avoid public scrutiny. Member schools definitely do not espouse violence of any sort. Yet the heat of battle, the passion for winning and the other pressures student/athletes experience make them extremely vulnerable. The discipline required in competition should be as important as the physical conditioning required from student/athletes
The second matter that needs to be addressed, especially in contact sports like basketball and football, is the role of Officiating. The quality of officiating especially in basketball has been declining to alarming levels. Many reasons are given for the quality of officiating. All the teams have questioned the quality of officiating at one time or the other.
Referees are there to control the game. There will always be an elbow here or a bump there but referees have to assert and implement their role from from tip-off to the final buzzer, The member universities, teams,, students, alumni, fans and others are owed that much.
grant Referees should not be afraid to call a flagrant foul 2. It is an intentional attempt by a player to potentially hurt another player with unnecessary and excessive moves. Referees should take the words “unnecessary and excessive” very seriously and make these calls when necessary. The penalty is an immediate ejection, The league should make a 2nd similar offense warrant a 2 game suspension and a 3rd should be expulsion from the league for the season.
Games also have to reviewed by a technical committee to determine if there were calls missed and be given the corresponding penaties for both the player who committed it and the referee who missed it.
In this same light, referees should also be held accountable for lapses in judgement. It is a tall order but what other choices are there? Officials should remember that they are on the line when they take the job on.
Winning championships is the ultimate goal of every team. However, there should be a great amount of responsibility distributed to all parties concerned. Sports is not a cockfight where blood needs to be spilled.
Let’s enjoy the games not the fights.