News Limited’s Greg Davis has likened the sanctions handed down to the Philippines in the aftermath of their involvement in the ugly World Cup Qualifier against Australia to a slap from a wet piece of lettuce. Australia’s Thon Maker has expressed a greater appreciation for security personnel after his efforts to remove teammates from harm’s way saw him suspended for three matches.
“While remaining respectful of FIBA as the governing body of basketball with a duty to protect the integrity and sanctity of our game, I disagree with their decision to sanction me for three games,” was Maker’s response on Twitter on Thursday. Davis was much less circumspect. “Since when was getting kicked, punched and bashed with courtside chairs a punishable offence? And another couple of questions. How can the biggest penalty be just six games? Were life bans ever considered?”
It was looking back the next day and viewing the footage that I realised something bad could have happened, I could have lost my life.
Maker also acknowledged the dangerous situation the Boomers found themselves in “I tried to break up a conflict, but without security things developed into a very dangerous situation where I needed to act to protect my teammates and myself from imminent harm,” the Milwaukee Buck star said. It is within the prism of Goulding and Maker’s one and three match bans that the Filipino sanctions seem manifestly light. Something that aggrieved Davis. “It should have been more. Much more. The bans should have been counted in months and years, not games,” he wrote. The Philippines should have been kicked out of the rest of the 2019 World Cup qualifying process. Their hosting rights for the 2023 World Cup should also be stripped. FIBA has had a shocker there.”
Basketball Australia announced their readiness to accept their penalties in an effort to move on from their involvement in the incident. The Philippines on the other hand might have rushed to accept them as quick as possible to ensure FIBA didn’t change their mind. At the very front of the queue to take the penalty on offer would no doubt have been Coach Vincent Reyes and Assistant Coach Joseph Uichico.
Given Goulding was suspended for one match in inciting the Filipino’s by having the kind of head they wanted desperately to punch, Reyes must consider himself extremely fortunate to have the same penalty for demanding his players ‘put Australians on the floor.’ That Uichico received just two games more for throwing chairs and attacking Goulding is one of the most ridiculous findings since OJ Simpson was found not guilty.
After sharing his side of the story, Maker turned his attention to the future and the positives from the experience. “I would like to focus on my continued preparation for the exciting upcoming season with the Milwaukee Bucks and move forward from this terrible event with a positive take-away – renewed appreciation for the importance of security personnel. They provide safety for all to enjoy the game we love, both as players and fans.”
Despite Maker’s philosophical position, the much less positive Davis deserves the last word on the whole situation.”No wonder FIBA wanted to keep the investigation behind closed doors. They would have been laughed out of town.”
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