PETRON import Renaldo Balkman has been banned for life from the PBA and hit with a P250,000 fine for his attack on teammates and officials in an outburst late in a game against Alaska on Friday night.
League commissioner Chito Salud handed out the decision on Monday night after meeting the contrite import for around 45 minutes at the PBA offices and then holing out with his team and technical officials for over two hours.
In announcing the decision, Salud listed down the league rules that Balkman had broken when he went on a rampage late in Petron's 73-83 loss to Alaska, confronting the refs, shoving teammates and coaches who tried to pacify him, and later grabbing the neck of Petron star Arwind Santos.
In a statement, Salud said the former New York Knick was banned for life for "initiating threatening physical contact with referee followed by a prolonged offensive and belligerent decorum toward game officials and his own teammates and officials."
Salud said what Balkman did was a "blatant disrespect for game, teams, league, and his host country."
Aside from the belligerent behavior he showed during Friday's meltdown, Salud said he also took into consideration two other untoward incidents involving Balkman in the past.
One was Balkman's altercation with the Alaska bench during a pre-tournament game in Cebu City, and the other was a head-butt the import gave a Venezuelan player while playing for Puerto Rico in a Fiba-Americas qualifier.
“Stiff as it maybe, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the overall interest of the league and the fans,” Salud said.
Salud said he was glad to see Balkman every bit remorseful during their meeting. He has taken to consideration the public apology the 6’6” former New York Knick made over the weekend, but at the end of the day, the PBA chief said “his constituency is far greater than that of Balkman.”
"The value of accountability is important for me to uphold at all times," the league chief said later in explaining his decision to bat Balkman for life from Asia's first professional cage league.
Below is the official statement of the Commissioner:
OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF
PBA COMMISSIONER ATTY. ANGELICO T. SALUD
ON BALKMAN’S CHOKING EPISODE
11 March 2013
For initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron team mates and superiors, including the head coach and assistant coaches, amounting to a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ballclub, the League, the fans and his host country, import player Renaldo Balkman is hereby meted the following penalties :
1. Ban from playing in the Philippine Basketball Association; and,
2. A fine of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pesos (PhP250,000.00).
In arriving at this decision, I took into consideration Balkman’s track record as a player, including the head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a pre-Season game in Cebu City. I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him. Stiff as it maybe, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the over-all interest of the League and the fans.
I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behaviour, he will be made accountable.
The value of accountability is important for me to uphold at all times. I think it is key to this League’s continued success, the development of our players’ maturity and to their role as models to our fans, especially the youth.