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‘MEDIA BAN’ PLACED ON ATHLETES – AGAIN?

A ‘media ban’ placed on our athletes in Papua New Guinea? You can’t be serious!

EDITORIAL

By Patrick Lujan

Enough is enough.

Big changes have to be made at the Guam National Olympic Committee.

For so many years, there has been countless reports from sports federations about how President Rick Blas ‘controls’ the GNOC with an iron fist, and the latest situation falls right in line with his type of leadership.

GSPN, since it’s inception in 2011, has been requesting countless amounts of information from Blas that has gone either unanswered or a ‘no comment’ reply. No one else associated with GNOC seems to be allowed to talk; at least to go ‘on record’.

We’ve left so many business cards at the front desk of the GNOC headquarters in Maite, I almost want to ask for them back for proper use. It’s as if we’ve been ‘banned’ from the get go.

The Pacific Games is our version of the Olympics. There was not one press release about Team Guam heading to Papua New Guinea.

Now we are hearing from athletes in PNG that there is a ‘media ban’. They are not allowed to share information to the Guam media other than the Pacific Daily News – who is the lone media GNOC sponsor.

WHAT?

The highest level of athletic competition in our region and our local media is banned? It should be the other way around. All media should be sponsored by the GNOC to the Games so we can provide maximum exposure for our hard-working athletes. Their family and friends on island and throughout the world deserve to know and see what’s going on.

This happened during the 2012 Olympics when the GNOC media liason was prohibited to share any photos and information, yet it was all over Facebook. Last year in the Pohnpei Micronesia Games, GNOC did little to assist the Guam media. In fact, it gave us even more obstacles to do our job than being of help, like having GSPN kicked out of a venue that had wifi, which is hard to come by in Pohnpei, simply because they had the power to.

These athletes had to work so hard just to get there, they don’t deserve a ‘media ban’. Not only were they forced to sell fundraising tickets, which 30% went to the GNOC, but GNOC couldn’t get a chartered flight to PNG, leaving the flight arrangements to the sports teams themselves. What did GNOC provide: a polo shirt, a bag, sweats, two t-shirts and a jacket. That’s it.

They bring in over $3 million a year from its Bingo operations alone – and don’t pay taxes. That’s more than enough to pay for all our athletes to go to the Games on top of their high-paying salaries. Our athletes need to concentrate on training, not fundraising.

I get the non-governmental support argument, but that doesn’t mean the organization will miss the focus on the mission, which is our athletes. And that is all the athletes, not just a select few that get extra special treatment.

What is it going to take to make a change there? Unfortunately, Guam sports will not improve until there’s a shakeup at the GNOC.

There should be a term limitation, not someone to sit in that seat for over 20 years – good or bad.

As for our athletes in PNG, do what is right. Keep sending us photos and information. It’s for your family and friends, not us.

GSPN wants to celebrate your accomplishments, not hide them!

 

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(photo from Kein Artero on Twitter)

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