Why did it take them so long?

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ROMY P. MARIÑAS

ROMY P. MARIÑAS

At long last, Filipino athletes, including the hyphenated ones, can now complain about supposedly sub-stan­dard sports equipment, delayed allowances and other game-changing grievances that could spell the difference between a podium finish for a runner or swimmer and a “DNF” after his or her name on the scoreboard.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez recently created a grievance committee that reportedly will hear out not only the athletes but coaches and other authorities as well on their sob stories.

Such tales of woes cannot be privately told in the last several decades by predecessors of today’s various sports actors presumably for fear of reprisal and precisely because there was no sounding board for these narratives.

Then as now, he who holds the gold rules.

More important, such committee will act as a referee in alleged wrang­­ling between warring sides in admittedly powerful National Sports Associations (NSAs) that allegedly have the say on funds meant for official tournaments.

We get it that the grievance committee will function like its counterpart in a labor union where a party (usually from the rank and file) found to be guilty of violating company policies is justifiably sanctioned through suspension or, worse, dismissal, if such disciplinary action is warranted.

In determining wrongdoing in the workplace, the burden of proof almost always lies with the employee.

Will it also be the case under the same committee where the athlete or the coach is, God forbid, put on trial and, we hope not, presumed guilty for gathering the nerve to confront the gods.

It is reassuring, however, to hear Ramirez say, “The [grievance]committee will study the complaints of the athletes and the officials.”

Her, however, adds, “If they don’t want to settle the problem among themselves, we will withdraw the PSC’s support.”

If he and the other officials of the commission decided to deny assistance to the athletes and officials, that would be an epic failure of the grievance committee which, ironically, is still in the works.

The decision will have declared both parties guilty and such verdict will have fallen short of resolving what has been ailing Philippine sports for a long, long time.

The PSC is starting with the grievance committee on the wrong foot.

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