If cricketers get banned for up to 12 months for rubbing a ball with some gritty tape, what type of punishment is fitting for the Australian and Philippines basketballers who brawled wildly?
Puts things in perspective for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
Those players deserved to be punished for cheating and bringing Australian cricket into disrepute but what occurred in the World Cup basketball qualifier was on another scale and needs to be dealt with harshly.
In an age where we know the serious outcomes of coward punches and have enacted one-punch laws, the sight of players blindsiding each other with fists, feet and even chairs is deplorable.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) should seriously be considering kicking them out of the World Cup qualifiers and long bans for the aggressors.
That includes both Philippines and Australian players guilty of violence. What message will be sent otherwise?
It will all come down to who was the instigator, who was the aggressor and did people act to protect themselves or others.
Lawyers will have a field day on this because by playing a contact sport, you actually consent to being assaulted. Sounds ridiculous but it is true.
When you take the field, court, ground or pitch, you are giving consent to getting bumped, pushed and tackled according the sport’s rules. What you do not give consent to, unless your sport is wrestling, boxing or martial arts, is being punched and kicked or having chairs thrown at you.
What will be interesting is whether the Boomers argue they acted in their own self-defence or the defence of another, both legal options open to any person on or off the sporting arena. You are entitled to use reasonable force to protect yourself or others from being assaulted.
The violent charge from Philippines player Roger Pogoy started the fracas but was Daniel Kickert’s response reasonable?
Did he act in defence of Chris Goulding who was on the ground when he charged Pogoy and elbowed him to the face?
I would suggest not and he must therefore take a lot of responsibility for the mayhem that ensued. If he had been more restrained, the referee would have most likely have ejected Pogoy and the Boomers would have cruised to victory.
The footage showed that did not happen and when the Philippines players, bench, officials and fans joined in the melee, it was lucky no one was seriously hurt.
That the Philippines players posed for a selfie after the brawl showed a complete disregard for their abhorrent behaviour.
There were some people on both sides who showed cool heads. Australian assistant coach Luc Longley weighed into the melee, not to throw punches but to protect his players. So too did Troy Rike who put himself between his teammates to prevent further attacks on a prone Boomer.
Rike received a cash reward for his actions from his sponsors and donated it to charities in Australia and the Philippines.
Sportspeople who play at the elite level are obviously ultra competitive. But even they should recall the old adage: sport is a game, and games are supposed to be fun.
Look at the way Ronaldhino played his soccer - it was self-expression and joy that shone through, not aggression. The same for how Roger Federer plays tennis, Stephanie Gilmore surfs or Daniel Ricciardo drives.
All athletes at the pointy end of their field but all doing it with style, grace and a smile.
- Mark Baker is Fairfax Tasmania and South Australia managing editor