The GAA should consider the actions of the mother of an underage player.
After seeing her child being grabbed by the throat by a middle-aged man coming off the sidelines in a slingshot, she called the gardaí. While the circumstances surrounding the episode at the U-9 game are not yet clear, it is being investigated and taken seriously by the Gardaí.
The incident happened in the heartland of the GAA. Located adjacent to Semple Stadium in Thurles, Dr Morris Park is named after Archbishop Thomas Morris, Patron of the GAA at the time of the organization’s centenary in 1984.
It’s as close to GAA sacred ground as you can get. A center of excellence for Gaelic games, designed to embody all that is good about the organization and nurture the all-Irish inter-county players of the future, is instead the latest scene of a worrying trend.
Once again, the GAA finds itself in the headlines for an incident that gives the organization a bad name and goes against the pillar of the community image presented.
A series of incidents in recent months have called into question the level of discipline within the GAA and whether there is a tolerance level for indiscipline, abuse and violence.
Last summer’s All-Ireland Championships were overshadowed by a slugfest between Galway and Armagh in the quarter-finals of football. Since then, two club mentors have been banned for extended periods after attacks on nationally known referees.
These incidents in Wexford and Roscommon were seen as the tip of the iceberg and a continuation of a pattern that has stared the association in the face for too long.
In return, Croke Park has launched a “Respect the Referee” campaign to be held nationwide at the district finals next weekend. But whenever a serious incident occurs, the GAA hierarchy is oddly lost.
The question now is whether inaction in addressing indiscipline will only perpetuate the problem as another generation becomes accustomed to the effects, taught that this is acceptable, and sees that there are rarely consequences.
The comparisons to the game of rugby do not reflect the GAA well.
There is a culture in rugby of utter intolerance towards referee abuse and disrespect towards officials, while disciplinary offenses are severely punished.
The GAA is intended to be a shining light and example.
The picture on the back of the Irish Independent Monday morning’s sports section shows about 20 young children and teenagers watching as the two managers engage in what is known as a “shame puzzle” in the Meath SFC County Finals.
The response from our legislators, who allocate significant tax dollars to the GAA, is confusing.
Speaking straight from the Borough’s Pump Department, Senator Shane Cassells of Meath, Fianna Fáil, says everything is fine.
“Before the ‘picture speaks louder than a thousand words’ brigade kicks off, fair play to Meath legend Conor Gillespie and Mayo legend David Brady, who came out and were men about what happened today.
“Two great GAA men and so refreshing in a sports world gone mad.”
Just a month ago, after an attack on a referee, Senator Cassells called for a “zero tolerance” approach to abuse in sports and the draining of funds from sports organizations that don’t crack down.
“Our Oireachtas report on Eliminating Abuse in Sport made a number of recommendations, namely removing funding for organizations that violate codes of conduct.
“That has to be on the table to curb the abuse of officials, referees and players,” he said at the time.
A month earlier, the same senator, who is a member of the Oireachtas Sports Committee, denounced abuse online and on social media, comparing it to sledding, where one player taunts another with offensive remarks to infuriate them.
The abuse of referees is bad.
Online abuse is bad.
But two managers who collapse on the sidelines in front of kids are just a little crazy.
There is nothing to see here. Go on now.
The message is contradictory.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/think-of-the-children-touchline-rows-giving-gaa-a-bad-reputation-and-is-at-odds-with-pillar-of-community-image-42074414.html Think of the kids: Rows on the sidelines give the GAA a bad name and are at odds with the community’s image