Volume 92, Issue 17
Thursday, October 1, 1998
Nemati stripped of all but his racket
Moe Nemati became a victim of the heavy hand of Ontario University Athletics this week in the most ridiculous suspension laid down in recent university history.
Nemati is the Western varsity tennis player who undoubtedly increased his popularity last week on campus 10-fold, due to the unfortunate incident which happened in a tournament in Kingston. On Sept. 19, during a match with Kiran Keshav from Queen's, Nemati became so incensed with the member of the Golden Gael team he proceeded to jump over the net during the match and shove the hometown kid.
There is no contesting Nemati made a mistake. He should not have leap-frogged the net in his match and he should not have pushed his opponent. By acting in this idiotic manner, Nemati put himself in the hands of the OUA Sport Technical Committee to decide on the actions that had to be taken.
Sadly, the committee working with Western's athletic administration have squeezed a little too tight in coming down with their four-part decision.
Nemati was suspended from this past weekend's tournament, which he served.
Nemati has been placed on probation for the rest of the season and any inappropriate behavior, whether it be verbal or physical will result in suspension from the season.
A written letter of apology must be sent from Nemati to all parties involved.
Although a bit childish, once again a fair consequence to a mistake.
However, the final point, requiring Nemati to receive counselling for his behavior is the real slap in the face in this incident.
Nemati is not a monster. In the midst of intense competition he snapped and did something which in almost any other sport would have been acceptable.
In hockey, Nemati would have been given a verbal warning at most for pushing an opponent once a far cry from having Big Brother watching your every move for the rest of the season, as well as forced psychological treatment.
Obviously Moe Nemati has been silenced by his own actions. He cannot speak out against the decision since all he wants to do is to get this behind him so he can get out and play tennis again.
However, the severity of this punishment, most notably in the counselling required, is a precedent-setter which must be reviewed.
It is not tough in sports to become angry and at times this anger escalates into actions like the Nemati case. However, these men and women are still athletes and should be treated as such. Administration must be fair in laying down consequences and truly attempt to stay away from humiliating punishment.
Another interesting thing which has come out of this is the fact OUA tennis lacks proper refereeing, which may have been able to contain the problem. In an OUA-sanctioned tournament there are no umpires to judge calls. How can judgment calls be left up to two athletes who are in the middle of a heated battle? This isn't a friendly game it's a sporting event at the university level.
Moe Nemati has been made a scapegoat. Nemati made a mistake and was punished in front of an entire campus as well as the OUA tennis world.
Just a message to the OUA. Don't stifle the emotion of sport with silly threats just to make it appear like you can control every action of every athlete in Ontario varsity athletics leave. And most of all, leave the straight jackets at home. It was just a game.
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