Sunday, September 12, 2010

Conflict of Interest The PBA and the CFL

I don't like the Philippine Basketball Association. Why? Like anything in life, when you are the only game in town, people will overlook your flaws. Since you are the only game in town then you have little incentive to fix your flaws. The PBA with its flaws is an accurate microcosm of the flawed pinoy. It's all about being astig and not about being proper and ethical.

Basketball is the only team sport that Filipinos generally care about . There are a few scattered hotbeds of football/ soccer around the country but insignificant in the national scene.
Today's lesson boys and girls is about a concept known as conflict of interest.

"We can define a conflict of interest as a situation in which a person has a private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of his or her official duties as, say, a public official, an employee, or a professional."

The fact that this exists in the dominant sports league in this country speaks volumes of how people here do not think. The gambling problem here can be defined as serious. Yet no one questions conflict of interest in the PBA? I would question it except I don't care. Well sorry I do care. My girlfriend's sideline is entirely funded by gambling on the PBA. Would you consider that a conflict in interest?

If you want a very short explanation of how bad conflict of interest can be to the integrity of sports listen to the two minute clip I just heard about how this exists in another bush league that I am somewhat familiar with. The Canadian Football League. Like anything in life, you cut corners or you compromise ethics when you are desperate. The fact that the league has to rely on one businessman to own teams in the two biggest English speaking cities in Canada says volumes of overall lack of financial interest and overall interest.

I guarantee you this will be the only piece you will ever see comparing the CFL with the PBA.
I lived in a CFL city for 19 years. I used to save up my earnings as a newspaper boy to watch Joe Papao and Larry Key do their thing in Empire Stadium. I bought my car stereo from Larry Crawford in 1988. I played for the BC Lions 1982-1984 (trombone in their marching band). I was at the 1985 BC Lions parade on West Georgia and getting some joy seeing AL Wilson (center) hold on to the cup. I constantly followed the local sports scene through the Vancouver Sun and CKNW radio in the previous century. The CFL as a league and team by team did everything in it's power to look as undignified as possible. Examples I can remember.

1) In their version of jumping the shark, the CFL expanded south of the border in the mid nineties. Four teams. One of them in Las Vegas, a place where self respecting leagues do not go for whatever ramifications they foresee. Granted you have to be significant to have ramifications so the CFL gets a pass. This experiment of Frankenstein proportions lasted two seasons. In what real league does an expansion team finish third place in the end of season point total? Baltimore did it their inaugural year. In Baltimore's second year they won the whole thing. Then the team vanished. What real league has a champion make like D.B. Cooper? The year after Baltimore won the CFL championship. The league circumcised all four American based teams then adopted a new slogan "Radically Canadian!". The CFL is so indecisive they make Brett Favre look like Solomon.

2) This example I am going entirely off memory. I see no evidence of it in Google. Sometime in the mid eighties in an effort to boost sagging attendance the league (CFL) wanted Bryan Adams to play a half time show in every CFL stadium for free. They wanted to claim it was his patriotic duty. That traumatized me the way any kind of grovelling will traumatize you. To see an entity with no sense of self worth begging. I would have better luck asking Ines de la Fressange for a date and insisting she pay.

3) In my years when I followed the league there was a regular annual ritual. Some of the CFL players will forgo a guaranteed roster spot in their CFL team for a shot at making an NFL team. Football is brutal on your body no matter what level you play it at. Might as well get paid well for it. Those that do not make it to an NFL roster usually reapply to the CFL team that has their rights. I remember this enraged a guy called Cal Murphy. "How dare these guys treat the CFL as a consolation prize?" Well Cal, in terms of money and prestige it is.

The PBA and CFL seem to have a lot in common. They should have mutual "brainstorming sessions" since they seem to hold the same values or lack of them.


Technical note: Audio Attachment of conflict of interest is available as an attachment in Multiply version of this post.


No comments: