Mere warning for serious act | Inquirer Opinion

Mere warning for serious act

10:23 PM July 22, 2013

This refers to the news about National University (NU) player Jeoffrey Javillonar receiving a letter warning him for pushing University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Jeric Teng during the NU-UST basketball match last July 10. (Sports, Inquirer, 7/12/13). What?! Just a warning?!

To say the least, by arriving at this decision, University Athletic Association of the Philippines Commissioner Joaquin C. Loyzaga revealed himself to lack balls.

The incident, which was captured on TV and uploaded on YouTube, would have been a nonissue if Teng was unhurt and was able to resume playing. But Javillonar’s act of pushing Teng caused the latter a right shoulder injury, preventing him from playing not just for the remainder of that game (won by NU) but also in the next UST match versus the University of the East (UE) last July 13 (won by UST).

The warning given to Javillonar is incommensurate to what he did. It was not just an accidental, harmless push. It was clearly a deliberate act that resulted in serious injury which might keep Teng out of more games. As of this writing, there is no word yet as to when he will be able to play again.

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It would have been just if Javillonar were suspended for at least one game, which was the very sanction meted out to UE’s Charles Mammie for “…confronting, pushing and kicking ADU (Adamson) player Roider Cabrera from behind with the intention to hurt.” I must say that I am sensing a case of inconsistent and selective sanctioning of players here.

As a UST alumnus, I might be accused of bias. But let me say for the record that my chagrin over this is not that different from what I felt last year when a Far Eastern University player was caught spitting on the Ateneo bench during an Ateneo-FEU game. There, fairness prevailed as the UAAP suspended the “spitter” for one game (not to mention FEU’s additional one-game ban for the same act).

When a player commits a certain offense that violates another person (physically or otherwise), the tournament’s governing body should be firm and fair in terms of the sanction/s it metes out. No player should get the impression that he/she can commit major misdeeds (e.g., behaving like a thug) and get just a slap on the wrist afterward. This is not just about being fair, this is also taking the opportunity to teach these young athletes valuable lessons about proper, sportsmanlike conduct which they can bring with them way after their collegiate lives and beyond sports. Let the UAAP be the venue for them to develop not just their athletic skills, but also their qualities of being decent, dignified, gracious and nonviolent athletes.

So come on, Commissioner Loyzaga! Some courage, integrity and consistent fairness on your part, please, as you deal with such incidents this entire UAAP season. In your very hands lies the prestige of this tournament.

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—CLAUDE LUCAS C. DESPABILADERAS,

Quezon City,

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TAGS: National University, UAAP, University of Santo Tomas, UST

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