Friday, November 16, 2007

Why you should oppose the GPA strike - Reason No. 4

Playing for your county is a choice. It requires dedication and commitment above the norm. Nobody is denying that. But, why try to equate this commitment, as the GPA do, in financial terms? Inter-county players, though admittedly not all of them, already "profit" from their talents. As this letter to the Indo points out, "the very ones who are calling for strike action are the ones who are, ironically, reaping the greatest rewards from the sport". There are huge perks for the modern-day GAA player, jobs, endorsements, training camps abroad, holidays in exotic locations (with their wives/girlfriends paid for!), etc.

Comments from Kilkenny hurler Eddie Brennan, are revealing of the GPA's true thinking. He's resentful that his participation in Gaelic games has curbed his earning potential in the Celtic Tiger economy, as he's unable to do 'nixers' in the evening to supplement his income. Eddie's values, and those of the GPA, are clearly socio-economic. Davy Fitz today, confirms this assessment. A former GPA member, he quit because, in his words, "they are all about money". Contrast their attitude with that of Colm McCullagh, who chose to quit paid football with Omagh Town when Mickey Harte selected him for the Tyrone team in 2004. Explaining his decision, he talked about the dreams and emotions of winning and All-Ireland, not money and compensation.

Playing for your county is voluntary in both meanings of the word - optional and unpaid. Let's keep it that way.

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