Thon Maker hits back over basket-brawl bans
THON Maker has hit out at FIBA's rulings over the basket-brawl that shamed the sport this month, disagreeing with his three-game ban and pinning the blame on a lack of security at the World Cup qualifier.
Maker was given the ban for his role in the fight, where he cleared the sparring teams by leaping into the fray with raised knees, but said he felt a need to protect his teammates.
Teammate Daniel Kickert (five matches) and Chris Goulding (one match) were also handed bans, and Basketball Australia received a $135,000 fine.
"While remaining respectful of FIBA as a governing body for basketball with a duty to protect the integrity and sanctity of our game, I disagree with their decision to sanction me for three games," Maker wrote on Twitter on Friday.
"I tried to break up a conflict, but without security things quickly devolved into a very dangerous situation where I needed to act to protect my teammates and myself from imminent harm.
"As a human being I cannot turn my back on anyone, Australian or Filipino, teammate or not, who is being attacked by a mob without the adequate help from security."
Meanwhile, Boomers guard Jason Cadee said the FIBA investigation didn't have to clear Australian players of racism for the team to know they would never racially abuse rival players.
On top of suspending and fining 13 players and coaching staff, FIBA's investigation also determined that no racist language was used by Australian players and nor did they incite the incident as had been alleged.
This emphatically ended racism claims made by freelance photojournalist Winston Baltasar, who was covering the World Cup qualifier between Australia and the Philippines on July 2.
In an interview with Australia's ABC Radio program The Ticket, Baltasar said Australian players called Philippine players "monkey" during the game and before the fight.
Baltasar, however, could not identify which Australian players he heard using the racial slur.
These claims were also strongly denied by the Australian Basketballers' Association and Basketball Australia in a joint statement.
Cadee welcomed FIBA's findings, but stressed the Boomers always knew they were innocent.
"We didn't need justification as a group - we knew we didn't do anything like that," Cadee told The Daily Telegraph.
"We decided as a group to let the proceedings take place and do the right thing and stay away.
"We had all these things get thrown around as to reasons why the (brawl) happened, but none of those things happened.
"It (racism) is not who we are and the fact people tried to use that as an excuse to why things got out of control - it was sad to hear.
"As a group we thought it was ridiculous - we had no reason to start doing stuff like that and why would we ever go down that path.
"But it's nice it has been resolved."
Philippines coach Chot Reyes also previously conceded he didn't hear any Australian Boomers racially abuse his players during last week's ugly brawl in Manila.
In an interview on SportsCenter Philippines earlier this month, Reyes was asked if Australia's players used derogatory terms to describe the Philippines players.
"No, I can say honestly that's fake news," Reyes said.
"I didn't hear or didn't have any notion that they were calling our players those terms at half-time, so I didn't see it."