Don Allado, Twitter and a sport that needs fixing
MANILA, Philippines—In case you didn’t know, Twitter is a big deal in the Philippines.
So when Barako Bull center Don Allado took to Twitter to air out his frustration over the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the Twitterverse, PBA fans, and league officials took notice.
Allado on Wednesday, July 4, released a series of tweets accusing the league of game fixing. The reactions were instant and intense—"Don Allado" was a trending topic on Wednesday.
The next day, the PBA announced that Allado would be suspended for one conference and will be required to pay a P500,000 fine, the heftiest imposed on an individual in PBA history.
That’s P100,000 for each tweet that he made that fateful Wednesday morning.
The PBA is clear when it comes to how its members should act in public.
"Players, coaches, and other team officials cannot make public statements that are detrimental to the best interest of the league," said PBA commissioner Chito Salud.
This policy covers social media accounts too, such as Facebook and Twitter.
In one of his tweets, Allado said he was saying "what others can’t."
"The PBA games are fixed. They control who is in and who is out. It’s a disgrace to be in this league,” he tweeted.
Some netizens lauded Allado for what they perceived to be his honesty and daring.
The PBA’s head honcho, however, wasn’t happy at all. Salud said social media should be used to "promote the league.”
"Don’t use this media to downgrade [the PBA]," he told reporters on Thursday, July 5, following a closed-door meeting with Allado and two Barako team officials.
Promote the league, Allado later did.
During the press conference, he did a turnaround—from saying that the league had “little credibility left,” to calling it “the best in Asia.”
Allado denied being drunk when he made those remarks on Twitter, contrary to what other sports pundits are reporting. He attributes the Twitter meltdown to his "emotions" and "passion for the game."
This reflected his "frustrations towards the referees... missing out on bonuses" and about his "contract expiring." Allado added: "I was alone, I was scared… I had mixed emotions and if felt like it was a dead end."
"The PBA is a solid institution and it doesn’t make sense for me para atakihin sila," he told reporters after the press conference with Salud.
What about game fixing?
Accusations of game fixing in the PBA, or any local basketball league for that matter, are nothing new.
It also isn’t uncommon to hear a head coach or team official complain about how the calls weren’t to their favor.
But never in the history of the PBA has a player publicly accused the league of rigging games—until Don Allado's tweets.
Salud vehemently denied the existence of game fixing in the league.
"[We are] on top of it and we’re one step ahead of you. We have our own sources on whether or not the PBA is being penetrated by gambling lords… and the answer is no," he said. He didn’t elaborate on the league’s investigation process.
In an April 20 article in the Inquirer, Salud said he considered officiating a "non-issue." League members should instead focus on coaching and playing the game, he said.
Still, he conceded that the league’s referees "will never be perfect" but "they will be fair and consistent under my watch."
Salud said they’re working toward regaining the league’s credibility and integrity. Perhaps Salud wants the league to return to its glory days. That isn’t going to happen overnight.
Social media sentiment over Allado’s allegations, the PBA’s response, and the issue of game fixing in the league remains divided.
Here are some reactions from social media:
What do you make of this issue in the PBA? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. –Rappler.com