Monday 11 November 2019

Colm Parkinson: How can GPA stay silent when its players are humiliated?

There's something wrong with a union that stands idly by while members' lives are being controlled

Davy O’Halloran said he was ‘humiliated’ by his treatment by the Clare senior hurling management
Davy O’Halloran said he was ‘humiliated’ by his treatment by the Clare senior hurling management

Colm Parkinson

It's about time the GPA rebranded themselves. How about this: the GAA's Past And Present Player Welfare Department (GAAPPPWD)? It's lengthy but more accurate.

When the GPA began they were a rebel force that fought for their members. Players bought into it and joined en masse. Finally we had a union that had the players' backs against lazy county boards and an uninterested Croke Park.

The reason the GPA needs to rebrand is because they are not the players' union any longer. What players' union would remain silent after one of their members admitted to feeling 'humiliated' as a result of excessive punishments handed down by a county manager?

Take it from someone who has been in his position: Davy O'Halloran would appreciate some public support from his union.

The biggest problem facing the modern-day player is the excessive demands on their time. Codes of conduct are now in vogue within county panels. Not only do county managers want to control their training lives, they want to control their private lives too.

Could our players' union do something about this? Would the English PFA stand by while their members signed codes of conduct they were not privy to?

I received information on one county's 'code of conduct' and here is a flavour of what's in it:

* An alcohol ban is implemented on January 1. A mid-season drink is permitted when the manager and three or four senior players (two of whom are pioneers) allow it.

* There should be no mention of the team, or the GAA, on social media as it is a distraction. (One senior player tweeted a picture of himself recovering from an operation in hospital and was suspended).

* No interaction with the media allowed.

* Football boots must be predominantly black in colour. There is a designated senior player who decides whether your boots are acceptable or not.

* No ankle socks can be worn outside your county socks and no tape to be worn on your sleeves or socks.

* No highlights in your hair. (One senior player arrived to training with a hairband and that was added to the banned list).

Why is the players' 'union' standing by and allowing players lives to be controlled like this?

Why are players still paying €50 membership to a 'union' that is being funded by Croke Park and really just a department of the GAA? You can consider my membership to the GAAPPPWD officially cancelled

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