Thursday, March 6, 2008

Self-righteous GPA

The self-righteousness of the GPA knows no bounds.

Less than a week ago Dessie Farrell lashed out at the Of One Belief group for insinuating  that Farrell and the GPA privately harbour long-term aims to create professional Gaelic games. Dessie took umbrage at these remarks claiming that the GPA's "bona fides" on preserving the amateur status are recognised by the GAA. How dare that "rump of malcontents" cast suspicions over the GPA's good word!

Although he later admitted he "probably" did make the comments referred to by Of One Belief in 2002, he insisted the remarks were written in a much different climate of relations. He neglected, however, to disclaim the sections of his book, written in 2005,  that advocate semi-professionalism, and, where- in a fit of egalitarianism rarely seen in peak Celtic Tiger Ireland- he put forward the concept of every player receiving the same amount of money. That didn't last long either, then, did it?

I dislike the label "flip flopper" and don't believe that a change of mind should handicap anyone. But, reacting with such pique and indignation, as if question marks over the GPA's commitment to amateur status were some slur on Dessie's and the GPA's character is downright petulant. Even worse, it's sanctimonious. 
It seems, however, the GPA doesn't know any other way. Their support today for Antrim's request to change in throw-in time for Sunday's Allianz Hurling League tie against Waterford in Dungarvan betrays this characteristic again. Bringing forward the throw-in time so that the Antrim players could make their way back to north Antrim - over 450 km and 6 hours drive - is perfectly reasonable, justifying additional GPA pressure on the GAA to accede to Antrim's petition. But, in doing so, why do they always have to be so prickly?

Why do they need "point out just how (my emphasis) accommodating players have been in recent years where fixture scheduling has taken place to facilitate television, Saturday ties and midweek games". Is there an implicit threat that they may not be so accommodating in the future? Even if not, their haste to always claim the moral high ground is priggish, and, more often than not, unfounded. Remember the GPA player's hankering to get on television with their Club Energise drinks in 2005? The GPA needs television as much as the GAA, if not more, especially if their ambitions to get their grubby hands on some of the TV revenue are fulfilled. So why bring that into it?

It's time for the GPA to stop thinking its above the GAA. We've had enough of the holier-than-thou attitude.  

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