PBA commissioner Chito Salud’s Monday decision to ban Petron import Renaldo Balkman and fine him a hefty sum of P250,000 is not an easy decision to make as seen in his facial expression and the tone of his voice during his brief but straight-to-the-point announcement to the press.
If I’d put myself on Salud’s shoes, honestly, I will also have to think it over and over and over, before issuing the statement on the tough Monday “decision” in dealing with Balkman’s late-game outburst during last Friday’s Petron-Alaska game at the Big Dome.
There were those who say the ban was too harsh. While others say, that’s just the right thing to do for assaulting a teammate before a shocked Big Dome audience and in front of television.
Still other people believe the 6’6″ Balkman should have been given a second chance, considering that the American-Puerto Rican already apologized in public and had patched things up with Arwind Santos last weekend.
But at the end of the day, after all the talk and opinions here and there, Salud said, being the PBA commissioner, he just had to do what he needs to do for the best interest of the 38-year-old professional league.
“In all occasions I have had in summoning erring players, invariably all these players would be regretful and remorseful. And that’s good because that means that the PBA is attracting by and large, good, decent individuals.
“But be that as it may, it was a hard decision. I had to think it over, and think it over seriously. And in the end, it is my responsibility to protect the interest of this league and to shield it from violent and abberant behavior,” explained Salud before the press.
The lawyer-turned-commissioner added: “In any kind of act that is unsportsmanlike in nature, you would have already an inclination as to what to do, but as a lawyer and as a head of the PBA, I had to hear him out before I make the final decision.”
As difficult as it is to make that decision, I think at the end of the day, Salud only wants to communicate one word: values.
The PBA chief sums up what he said with this: “His public apology… I have taken note of that, it has been accepted by his teammates, in particularly Arwind Santos, but as I have stated, my audience and constituency is far more broader than Mr Balkman’s own constituency, which, in this case is his team.”
Photo courtesy of Nuki Sabio of the PBA