SOCIAL media has given school-based coaches another tool for their trade. It has helped them communicate easier with players and parents and also has given gives them another platform to share their ideas or beliefs. Just check the numerous “parents-shouldnt-coach-from-the-sidelines” articles shared by coaches recently.
But like any other innovation, it has become a double-edge sword and some coaches have found themselves easy targets by disgruntled parents who have an axe to grind. However, coaches can now fight back should they choose to and that’s through the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which covers cyber libel.
So, should coaches resort to that?
Well, if it’s just a normal disagreement over tactics or player selection, there’s no need to go that route. But when your reputation and integrity are being maligned and it is clear that the intention is simply to cast doubt on your character, then that’s a tool you can use to fight back.
Sure, there were disgruntled parents who maligned coaches before, but in the pre-social media era, the exchanges of insults about a coach would happen in gatherings, where the coach usually had one or two defenders that would challenge the disgruntled.
But now, in an era where ranting online is as easy as picking up your phone, one’s reputation--not just coaches--can be destroyed in a 300-word post.
You can’t blame a coach if the besmirchment of his reputation becomes too much, when his family is already affected and by connection, his school and other coaches get dragged into the issue.
Curiously, when I did a brief research on cyber libel, it was in Cebu that the first indictment was made in 2014, involving two half-sisters and a series of Facebook posts. Now, if there are no changes, there could be another landmark case, this time involving Cebu sports. There’s two of them actually.
A case can lead to two things, stop the attacks and baseless accusations and teach those involved in teams to be more responsible in their social media use, especially when they criticize coaches.
Sometimes folks see coaches as automatons, not people with feelings and families.
RANDY GIVES BACK. Here’s a piece of good news for Cebu football. Randy Estremos, the former Cebu-based Fifa referee who has taken his trade abroad, is coming home and is willing to give back to the community.
He’s going to sponsor a local tournament next month and is also willing to organize seminars for local referees.
With his vast experience and knowledge, this could be a big boost to officiating in Cebu. Also, he still has contacts abroad and taking up the whistle for a career could now be an option for local referees.
Of course, it won’t be easy and Randy himself will tell you that but at least with his guidance and contacts, it’s now possible.