Thursday 26 April 2018

You’re missing the point, Mickey

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The issue of how and when players who misbehave are detected is completely irrevelant. Do the crime, expect to do the time

TYRONE can't be serious. And, if they are, then they're seriously misguided. Threatening to ban TV cameras from their home NFL games in protest over what they regard as selective use of technology for disciplinary purposes may appear like a grand gesture on behalf of their players who were suspended on video evidence last week, but it's completely missing the point.

Tyrone contend that it's unfair to use video footage because only a relatively small number of counties feature on the league's television schedules. In the main, it's confined to Division 1, which, according to Tyrone -- who are now drawing support from some others in the top flight -- is discriminatory.

"It's not fair because you are being disadvantaged being on live TV," said Mickey Harte.

"If we were to go down that road (banning TV cameras) we would be doing so with regret, but the board and team management feel a level of consistency on this issue needs to be established," added Tyrone PRO, Damien Harvey.

Now there's a defence the motorist I saw pulled in for speeding on my way to Thurles last Sunday could have used.

"Garda, what about the boyos who speed on the roads where you aren't pointing your damn hairdryer at this precise moment? A level of consistency on this issue needs to be established."

"Right, but we caught you so can we have your name and address?"

The issue of how and when players who misbehave are detected is irrelevant. Do the crime, expect to do the time. And because all games are not televised, is the GAA to ignore the video of those which are?

Besides, if the video can be used to incriminate players, it can also be employed to support a defence. Indeed, the video should get Tyrone's Joe McMahon off his red-card dismissal against Mayo on Sunday.

If a similar incident had happened in any of the games which weren't televised the defence case wouldn't stand up, so being on camera doesn't always carry disadvantages. Those who argue that the Division 1 counties are being discriminated against by comparison with those further down the line should also consider this: the reason Division 1 counties are on TV so often is because they are the market leaders.

They operate in the glamour zone where they are challenging for all the titles. They then go on to dominate the award season and, in quite a few cases, will enjoy luxury team holidays and All Star trips. Some will benefit from endorsements and other commercial deals so all in all, it's a good place to be.

And if they behave themselves, they have no reason whatsoever to fear the closest TV scrutiny of their games.


The idea that the video couldn't be used on an elite who enjoy all the privileges the game can offer because matches involving weaker counties aren't televised is bizarre. In an ideal world, all games would be video recorded to the highest standards, but that's not the case at present.

Of course, in an ideal world, all counties would have a chance of sharing in the glamour occasions, but that doesn't happen either. So for Tyrone -- and other high-fliers -- to demand an end to the use of video evidence unless all games are recorded is to imply that power should bring privilege. I'm sure players from Division 4 would have loved if their games were shown live last weekend, but the public didn't want it.

And when the elite scoop all the titles, awards and rewards later in the season, players from the weaker counties won't be complaining about how unfair it is. And even if they did, who would heed them?

Leighton Glynn (Wicklow), John McKeon (Leitrim), Mark Carpenter (Carlow), Liam O Lionain (Waterford), Ger Quinlan (Clare) and Pa Ranahan (Limerick) are all prime examples of excellent players who are currently plying their trade in Division 4.

They -- and their colleagues -- put in just as much hard work as players from the stronger counties while knowing that it's most unlikely they will ever get to play in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day. They could, of course, whine about how unfair life is, but it wouldn't make any difference.

Meanwhile, the elite want to hide behind the weaker counties so that if they're caught misbehaving during a televised game they can plead discrimination.

And you thought arrogance was confined to the banks!

Irish Independent

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