Friday, July 20, 2012

Actions Speak Louder than Words

News reports from Japan and Australia tells us a lot about sports culture, and how slowly things actually change. From Japan courtesy the IHT:
It was precisely a year ago that the Japanese women’s soccer team won the World Cup, beating the United States in the final and giving a boost to the spirits of a nation that had been battered by an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear disaster.

But when they flew to Europe on Sunday along with the men’s team, the women were in coach seats while the men were up in business class. The Japanese Football Association said the teams had left Tokyo together on the same Japan Airlines flight.
From Australia courtesy the SMH:
Australia's women basketballers have confirmed they also had different travel arrangements to the men's squad for the journey to London. While the Boomers flew in business class, the Opals made the long-haul trip in premium economy - and that was an upgrade.

The Opals have never protested publicly about this longstanding treatment of national teams and players would not comment on the record today, but they do not like it and say such inequality has been a long-standing source of contention.
From various perspectives -- equity, team spirit, pubic relations -- what a boneheaded set of policies. The tone-deafness to it all speaks volumes.

Australian basketball officials dug their hole a little deeper when excusing the policy as a matter of average height, which make no sense, as Samantha Lane in the SMH pierces through immediatey:
"For example, the average height of our male basketball players is 200.2cm. The average height of our female basketball players is 183cm."

But Basketball Australia was unable to confirm if flight arrangements had ever been based on individuals' heights given Opals rising star Liz Cambage is 203 cm tall, while Boomers players Adam Gisbon and Patrick Mills stand 188 cm and 183cm respectively.
Here is some friendly policy advice, if you are unable to justify a policy in public in a way that is compelling and makes sense, then it probably is a policy worth rethinking.


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