Article 170 of the 2016 WSL Rule Book, updated on May 9th of 2016, in part reads “All individuals bound by this Policy must act at all times with Sportsmanlike Conduct. Sportsmanlike Conduct is defined as, but not limited to: respect for WSL Tour and Event sponsors, Judges, opponents, WSL management members, WSL Representatives, spectators, member of the media or any other person within the designated Event site; respect for facilities, privileges and operation procedures at Events; the use of courtesy and good manners at Events; acting responsibly and maturely at Events; refraining from any visible gesture which is commonly understood to be derogatory,…..”.
During his Round 3 loss at the Hurley Pro at Trestles Gabriel Medina exhibited extremely poor sportsmanship on three separate prolonged occasions by showing a public disrespect towards the WSL judges and in the process reflected poorly upon himself, the WSL Tour, the event sponsors and his own sponsors. In order to right this wrong, both the WSL and the Brazilian surfer are obligated to respond in a way that firmly address Medina’s actions. It all can lead to moving toward an atmosphere where disputes with the judges are carried out in private and in a sportsmanlike manner.
The WSL is furthermore required, by their own bylaws, to at the very least fine Gabriel Medina a minimum of $1,000.00 for his blow ups. In addition, the WSL should strongly consider warning Gabriel that future displays of poor sportsmanship will lead to increased fines and/or suspensions. These items should be made public because Gabriel’s actions were done in public. Medina should also be “given” the opportunity to publicly apologize to the WSL judges and the WSL fans. This would be an ideal opportunity for him to express that he strongly disagrees with the judges’ scoring in this case and at the same time that take ownership for his behavior.
The WSL’s prompt actions in resolving this matter firmly would be for the betterment of the sport, its athletes (including Gabriel) and its sponsors. We certainly should not see the CT moving on to France without bringing closure to all the debates over judging on the Tour. This is an ideal opportunity for the WSL to show its fans – especially its young fans – that it holds excellent sportsmanship as a fundamental characteristic highly expected from all of its competing athletes.
The excuse of cultural passion fueling Gabriel’s actions is 100% invalid. Unacceptable is unacceptable and the WSL rules pertaining to sportsmanlike conduct are designed to maintain the integrity and professionalism of the sport.