Sports is more than just about gamesBy Sev Sarmenta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The news about some Azkals allegedly subjecting former POC president Cristy Ramos to insensitive sexual statements exploded on the sports pages over the last two days. It’s the kind of news that no sports organization wants, especially one that is riding on the crest of resurgence and public goodwill.
Ramos filed a complaint before the Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary Committee. A thorough investigation is still pending but the sensitivity of the issue will make it a news magnet. Apologies have and will continue to be issued but will most likely not be the end of it because there are more angles to the case.
Of late, we have seen how the world has become more conscious of political correctness, gender issues and ethnicity concerns and nationhood matters. There is an increasing demand for the world to be more sensitive and aware that words and actions abide by rules of proper decorum and decency. Affected parties who will be hurt by insensitive words and actions will no longer simply remain quiet or allow the action to be swept under the rug.
Sports is not excused from this wave of change because it operates in this state of flux the world is in. Disciplines that have long been male bastions are now discovering that the old jokes and ways of saying things about females are incorrect, more so when done in front of the women themselves. In the 80s, a star football player in the United States was improper to a female sportscaster and was lambasted soundly for his actions.
The recent surge of NBA player Jeremy Lin also tugged along ethnicity issues. Time magazine pointed out that in the playgrounds Asian players don’t get much respect and are being dazzled with showboating moves. It didn’t help that boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. stirred the cauldron along with the remark that Linsanity was much ado about nothing and it was being done simply because Lin is Asian. The good thing about the Linsanity story is that Lin is being judged on his basketball skills to the point that the Miami Heat showed him respect by defending hard and creatively on him when the Knicks lost to the Heat.
On another note, there have been substantial media studies as well on how male sportscasters have been calling female sports. The bulk of the findings is that certain terms that apply to the male division like “too much muscle behind a shot” are not necessarily sensitive to females. Even the most simple terms like “man-to-man” defense are being given a second thought on how it should be called in a women’s basketball game.
Males shouldn’t simply brush these trends away as the inability of women or other genders to adjust to the ways and expressions of sports. Sexual teasing is never comfortable whether the affected one is a male or female. As far as reportage is concerned, some time may be needed to find the proper ways of calling women’s sports on television or how it is reported in the news without sacrificing clarity and communication.
But let’s take away all the jargon of the era for a moment and come up with a simple guiding principle for all genders and races to co-exist in sports: decency and decorum. Let’s hope that all of us will learn from the Ramos-Azkals issue that sports is not just about games.
La Salle’s Haya Ibarra was named best goalkeeper, while Ampil took the best defender plum.
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