Ray Parks Jr. obviously hit a sore spot with TNT management after announcing that he will take a sabbatical in the coming PBA season. And from the way league chair and TNT governor Ricky Vargas sounded, it will take a whole lot for both parties to reconcile and chase championships together again.
“He (Parks) has a major character flaw,” Vargas told the Inquirer over the phone, reacting to how his Tropang Giga were left to hang and dry after Parks suddenly turned his cheek on ongoing contract negotiations and announcing that he won’t be playing in the coming season. “He is not truthful and is not transparent and that pissed us off.” Vargas said that TNT had offered Parks a “super maximum” two-year extension while making management believe that he was in the United States.
It turned out that Parks has been in the country all this time and “enjoying himself, before saying that he needs to take care of family matters in the US as the reason for taking his sabbatical.” “He is not a winner, and definitely not a leader unless he changes that character flaw,” Vargas declared, referring to Parks’ insincerity and lack of character in dealing with people who did him no harm. “We took care of him, took care of his family during this pandemic,” Vargas went on. “The best thing he could do is show appreciation back. He owes it to our team, he owes it to the league and he owes it to the fans most especially.”
Taken up with board
This act by Parks has given Vargas, as the league chair, cause to bring up the matter to the board when it convenes for the next two days starting Monday. “Look, players cannot hold teams hostage,” he said. “We respect requests for sabbaticals, but doing so using false reasons is absolutely a no-no. We were talking to him [during the contract negotiations] in good faith and this is what we get?”
Vargas and the rest of TNT management thinks that Parks would want to play overseas for bigger money after letting his contract lapse and thinking that the mother PBA team won’t have a hold on him.
The league chair said that this will also be taken up in the board meeting, as the league will again ask for Fiba (International Basketball Federation) support to require players playing overseas to gain releases from his mother team, his league and ultimately, the country’s basketball federation. Incidentally, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is being controlled by the Manny V. Pangilinan Group of Companies, the same entity that owns TNT and two other teams in the PBA. And Vargas is confident that no one can gain a release from the PBA if the mother team and the player don’t part harmoniously.
Vargas also admitted that Pangilinan is not taking this episode lightly with the tycoon even posting on his social media account a photo of Parks and a friend having a good time at a beach in the north just late last month.
This is the second high-profile case to hit the league in the last two seasons after the Greg Slaughter saga with Barangay Ginebra.
Slaughter also held out in signing an extension with the Gin Kings, as he didn’t want to be traded and went back to the United States while Ginebra won the Philippine Cup in the bubble over TNT. The 7-foot center eventually made up with Ginebra management and just over the weekend was traded to NorthPort in exchange for Christian Standhardinger.
Asked if trading Parks away would be a possibility after everything that has been said and done in just two days since Parks announced his sabbatical, Vargas had a curt reply.
“With that character flaw, which team do you think would take him in?” INQ