Graeme Joffe

Are we fans before journalists?

2012-10-02 10:41
Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
Taking on SASCOC has left me in a lonely place at present, out on a limb with little support. But I still firmly believe the truth will eventually get rid of corrupt administrators and set our athletes free. More, it will make for a fairer road for future athletes, one in which their dreams are encouraged, not crushed, and where their hard work and their undoubted talent, is rewarded.

With all SASCOC’s power and influence and the largess they are able to distribute among their acolytes, they still have no foil to counter the truth. I try to imagine them running around with their panties in a twist drawing on their many resources, discussing various strategies.

Why is it that we don’t have a hard hitting TV or radio sports magazine show on one of the big platforms in South Africa that is able to expose weak and corrupt administration?  

Is it because too many media organisations are in bed with these SASCOC-type organisations or are we as journalists, fans before we are journalists? 

While I acknowledge the importance of uplifting, positive stories, that does not detract from the fact that our job is to report the news, not ignore those stories which make us uncomfortable.

If we allow corrupt administrators to continue unabated and unexposed, we will continue to damage our sport like what transpired with Cricket South Africa.

Sadly, the cancer is already widespread in SA sport but we can only try to limit the damage.

Table tennis star, Jade Sassman, who at 14-years-old was becoming a victim of this cancer but I was happy to see SA Table Tennis overturned the unethical and wrongful suspension of the future star and she is now able to play in the SA National championships.

Maybe some administrators are reading this column and starting to feel just a little guilty, thick skin and all.         

http://www.sport24.co.za/Columnists/GraemeJoffe/SASCOC-you-disgust-me-20120914

SAPA Sports Editor Wesley Button was fairly critical after this last SASCOC column but I fail to see his argument.   

Wesley: “I agree that there are questions that should be asked about the Sascoc administration, particularly with regards to the conflict of interest between the Sascoc Board, the Lottery Distribution Fund and various sports federations. To give only your opinion, with no comment from Sascoc, and without backing things up factually, is not reporting  .... “

Wesley, my columns are fact-based. How can SASCOC refute their multiple roles and suspensions and their positions on the Lotto Distribution Board? They respect no boundaries and are answerable to no-one as a section 21 company. I have offered SASCOC a number of opportunities to answer the questions posed in my four previous columns. They've chosen to reject this. The point is they have no real answers as they're not in the habit of being questioned.

SASCOC were not available for comment for the Carte Blanche expose on the Equestrian selection debacle.

Why do you think that?

Many of our administrators have lost touch with the people they are supposed to be serving. We, as journalists, have a duty to try to breach the gap, to expose the problems, to remind the officials what their duty is, and to report when they fail in that duty. We cannot simply accept the SASCOC media statements as being reflective of the entire truth. 

It is not.

Wesley: “To suggest that media houses should not accept Sascoc's offer to cover costs to international events, as they won't be able to report objectively, is ludicrous” ...

I cannot disagree with you more.

Please show me one critical news story of SASCOC to come out of the Olympic or Paralympic Games. There are so many untold stories of wasted funds, maladministration, unfair treatment of athletes and coaches, let alone those athletes who have had their dreams destroyed by self serving administrators and the gravy train. 

SASCOC also pay millions to a PR company (who have “well travelled” journalists within) to cover the Olympics and Paralympics. I still see no reason for SASCOC to spend more on hand selected mainstream journalists, especially when our athletes are subject to the strictest of budgets.

From the number of emails I’ve received, it’s created suspicion in a lot of people’s minds, not just mine.

SASCOC is absolutely hell bent on bullying federations or individuals, running up exorbitant legal costs to obviously make it unviable to pursue, so they can hold onto this giant cash cow.

Now is this what the South African sportsmen and women want?

I can't comprehend that the public and the greater sporting men and woman have been duped into this autocratic nightmare. I have also noticed that the words corrupt, unethical, fraudulent and "player and referee" are intertwined with SASCOC when reading blogs on any site.

I was wondering aloud when I thought what if SASCOC is issued a moratorium on all sportsmen and woman for a week on any punishment or harassment, so they could openly voice their opinions on an Internet forum.

I can only imagine the result.

SASCOC reward party loyalty, rather than ability and continue to close ranks against any who would speak against them. They reward only those who sing their highest praises. 

SASCOC are guilty of the ultimate sporting foul : they play the man and not the ball.

Email Graeme at: graeme@butterbean.co.za

Catch Graeme Joffe on SportsFire every Monday and Thursday at 17:30 on Radio Today, 1485am in JHB, National on DStv audio channel 169 and streaming worldwide on www.1485.org.za. Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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