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BA reveals a lack of Spaldings

SOME 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 grievances against the Catholic Church onto the door of a chapel in Wittenberg, Germany. Today, someone should commit the following to parchment and nail it on the door of Basketball Australia at Wantirna South, Melbourne:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

BA has shown it is no more accountable than basketball’s global governing body FIBA by taking the soft option and not fighting the absurd one-match international ban on Boomers guard Chris Goulding.

Goulding, Thon Maker (3 games) and over-reactor Daniel Kickert (5 games) were the Australian players punished and banished by FIBA for their role in last month’s ugly “Melee in Manila” which erupted late in the third quarter of the Boomers’ 89-53 win.

BA Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Moore, went on radio to declare: “We look at the incident that occurred where Chris is under the basket with 20 people on top of him – to actually then get a one-game ban, we just thought that was unjust and extremely unfair.”

Excellent. We’re all agreed then.

No, apparently not.

“…It’s our view, and the legal advice that we went through and considered, was the probability of success in overturning the sanctions was very, very low.”

That’s 100 percent correct. So why even bother, right? Why stand up for a principle? Why stand up for what is just and fair?

And that’s exactly how FIBA and most other associations or federations operate – as a law unto themselves OUTSIDE the laws of a land, OUTSIDE the laws of natural justice.

To appeal carries with it a hefty financial burden which, obviously, is in place and designed for twofold reasons. One, to discourage frivolous appeals. Two, discourage serious appeals too because of the strong likelihood they will fail, making the financial outlay the deterrent.

It allows bodies such as FIBA to continue to act as a law unto themselves and once it has made a ruling, it is almost sacrilege to challenge the finding. And, aware of the pettiness of many administrators, not only would an appeal fail but Australia’s audacity in appealing would carry some unforeseen backlash in the future. You know, something such as NOT getting the nod to host a World Cup or something similar.

FIBA? Petty and/or petulant? Perish the thought!

So, in being totally pragmatic, which I’m sure we all understand, BA determines it is a bad “investment” to try and have Goulding exonerated when a) an appeal likely will lose; b) it will be monies wasted; and c) there will be repercussions in the future on Australia.

And so FIBA gets away with it. The Philippines gets away with it.

Now if Goulding had not been saved in time by Aussie assistant coach Luc Longley and team manager Junior Albert and been killed under that basket, would FIBA subsequently be trying to get away with murder?

Hell no. It would be at the forefront of a REAL investigation, with relentless righteous rhetoric about the horror of this all.

But Goulding made it out alive so now it’s time for the Boomers to also cop it?

Because he did some trash-talking during the game?

Of course he did. It was his only defence to the illegal physical beating he was taking. Trips, shoves, holds, punches – they’re all there from his Filipino opponents.

Chris Goulding is no fool. He’s not going to be drawn into a physical confrontation. He’s on that floor to play basketball, to represent his country. He’s not there to fight some dimwit whose only recourse is to endlessly bait him with cheap shots.

So what other defence did he have, beyond making a few timely remarks as he carved up his defenders?

Thus FIBA assesses him a one-match ban for contributing to the eventual eruption. Even though even when that happened, he wasn’t perpetrating any violence, just covering up to keep from being battered to a pulp.

There’s the Philippines assistant coach ramming a chair down onto him, legs first. What if that out-of-control idiot punctured Goulding’s neck, smashed an eye, broke his ribs? What then FIBA?

I guess the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” hasn’t made it to Switzerland. (OK. We have learnt enough about depression and anxiety to know words CAN and DO hurt, but in this instance, Goulding wasn’t harming anyone, just standing up for himself in the only way available.)

We know FIBA also baulked at any responsibility for action against the spectator who deliberately and viciously threw a chair at Nathan Sobey, hitting him in the head.

Sure. FIBA can’t do much about that, it claims, figuratively shrugging in that inoffensive European way.

But here is what should have happened.

Basketball Australia SHOULD have appealed Goulding’s ban – regardless of whether it thought it would succeed or fail, because evil triumphs when good men do nothing.

It also should have demanded FIBA do something about the spectator who threw the chair at Sobey. His identity is well known and he is seen very clearly on multiple video angles.

And no, accepting FIBA cannot do anything about that spectator is hogwash. What BA should be demanding is that FIBA grow a couple of Moltens and turn around to Philippines Basketball and tell them quite clearly that while FIBA can do nothing about the spectator, it CAN do something about the Philippines.

So either Philippines Basketball tracks that gutless coward down and issues him with a lifetime ban, or FIBA takes the 2023 World Cup off it.


Yes, we already know FIBA will not follow through. Federations and associations are weak when they should be strong, and strut when they should be compassionate.

But if FIBA does nothing, then BA should be agitating with those countries who are drawn to play in the Philippines in 2023 that it is clear not only is security and safety at Filipino venues grossly inadequate, so-called Security is just as likely to run away or join in than stop anything.

That’s what BA should be doing. Because as that other saying goes: “If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.”

Right now, BA doesn’t stand for very much at all, other than expedience.

Aug 2

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