#TheToughest Issue: Is the reported eight-week ban for Tyrone's Tiernan McCann fair?
Croke Park came under a lot of pressure to take action against Tiernan McCann but, since a reported eight-week ban was proposed for the Tyrone player's dive against Monaghan, calls have now been made that it is too harsh.
What do you think? Is it fair?
Conán Doherty says: YES
Listen, this suspension won't be upheld. But the GAA should be applauded for at least trying to take a stand and for sending a very clear message that this sort of behaviour will no longer be tolerated.
As the world watched on, the question was being asked for the first time: How does the GAA treat its cheaters? And the organisation couldn't hide.
The irony now, of course, is that the people who were outraged at Tiernan McCann's embarrassing piece of simulation are now the same ones outraged that the obviously outdated rule book isn't being followed to the letter. Morals have been forsaken in place of snot-nosed technicalities nearly just trying to teach the GAA a lesson.
But what lesson is it teaching the players? Or the culture?
What was the alternative? To do nothing? To issue a response that no action would be taken because what McCann did was only a yellow card offence? To let him off scot-free in front of the eyes of an entire sport and international bystanders and send a message to the game and it's youngsters that it's okay to dive?
Just imagine how that would've went down. We would've had even more self-righteous ripostes aimed at the limp lack of action.
A new precedent - a first precedent, really - simply had to be set. Yes, others have gotten away with it but it has come to a head and it is abundantly clear that this has to be fixed right now.
Go back, ban the rest of them if you have to - if consistency is what we're really looking for. But I don't even think it is. I think people either want to get one-up on proving the GAA wrong again; others, well they just want Tiernan McCann to get off.
Why would anyone in their right minds want to see him go unpunished? Tyrone people included. He dived, he faked, he got a fellow GAA man sent off for doing nothing. But we're willing to let it slide because of a technicality. Because the book that should be thrown at him is paper thin. Because others got away with it before.
Making the same mistake a fourth or fifth time doesn't help solve this very real problem.
But why now? Why the Tyrone man? Why not Michael Shields? Aidan O'Mahony? Why? Because Shields' incident didn't resulte in a player being red carded for one. Neither of those incidents were the culmination of an already distasteful game and they weren't the head of a mass hysteria from the people, the media and from corners outside of the island. Call it populist if you want but the hysteria is real and it is justified.
And now it needs to be quashed. If it's inconsistent, then make it consistent. Punish them all. Do it now before another case is left to slide and, before we know it, we have the same problem as soccer where players are throwing themselves over without a second's thought because the only risk they're running is their name in a black book.
If your only problem is that what is clearly an unfit law is not being followed to a tee, then don't worry, because the full punishment won't be upheld anyway. But no-one can say that McCann or the rest of them should go unpunished - whatever's currently legal or not. No-one can say that. So at least doff a cap to the GAA for coming down hard and for sending a message.
Stop with this pedantic, unconstructive argument that's being put forward seemingly just for the sake of arguing with the GAA. Because all it is serving to do is to acquit someone of an action that clearly needs to be punished.
Disproportionate, inconsistent, without precedent or not. Set it straight now.
Quoting rules and laws and smirking at the rod that has been made for the GAA's back is actually irrelevant if we're looking to do what's right and keep it that way in the future.
It depresses me to think that, in 10 years time, we're complaining about a diving culture in the game and how yellow cards are offering no solution. We'll ask why we didn't stop it when we had the chance.
Then we'll realise that we didn't take that chance because the punishment was disproportionate.
Conor Heneghan of JOE.ie says: NO
First things first, I can’t say I was particularly disappointed to hear of reports that Tiernan McCann would be handed an eight-week ban after what happened on Saturday.
It was probably the most disgraceful incident in a game that was littered with appalling behaviour, the sort of game that gave Gaelic Football’s growing band of critics plenty of ammunition with which to fire at the sport in a season that has seemed to rumble between one controversy and the next.
Would I like to see McCann banned?
Yeah, probably. It would send out a message that behaviour like this is not to be tolerated and would make potential offenders think twice about doing it again.
But what I’d like to happen and what should actually happen are two completely different things.
The truth of the matter is that, on the back of the public outcry to McCann’s theatrics during the Monaghan game on Saturday, the GAA have invented a reason to punish him, while ignoring the fact that there is already a punishment in place for what he did.
Loads of things happen in the GAA that aren’t acted upon afterwards when action absolutely should be taken.
A Dublin player spent two nights in hospital as a result of an incident in a challenge game recently.
But that’s OK because, according to his manager, the offender and victim shared a “frank discussion” afterwards so the matter was dealt with.
Why wasn’t there action taken? Because for action to be taken, the incident would have to have been recorded in the referee’s report or there would have to have been video evidence of the incident in question.
It wasn’t recorded in the referee’s report and there was (conveniently) no video evidence because the incident took place before the referee blew the whistle before throw-in.
The GAA then, had their hands tied by their own rulebook.
In this case, they’ve decided not to abide by their own rules, charging McCann with an offence (discrediting the association) even though there is a specific punishment in place for the offence he did commit (simulation, a yellow card).
Much as it might disappoint the many people who were understandably outraged by McCann’s actions on Saturday, the debate about whether a reported ban is fair or not is largely irrelevant.
As far as I can see, there are no, or at least very little, grounds for a ban.
Therefore, there seems very little chance that it will be upheld and it’s far more likely that McCann will face Kerry and fulfil the role of the wing-forward that everyone loves to hate.
Funny enough, there’ll be a man on the opposition bench who knows exactly how he feels.
To a certain extent, McCann has been made a scapegoat here and certainly, he has felt the wrath of the GAA community, who are more than capable of exerting their wrath when given the opportunity.
Tyrone GAA fans and defenders of McCann have subsequently pointed to a multitude of similar offences, such as Michael Shields’ tumble against Kerry in the Munster Final and an act of simulation by Michael Lundy in the All-Ireland Club Final that would have made Ashley Young proud.
If you’re going to punish McCann, then go back and issue retrospective bans for all the other incidents of diving too. Just because McCann’s case was a high profile one doesn’t mean it should be treated differently than any other.
Pointing out similar offences by others is a natural response but a disappointing aspect of this whole debate since Saturday is that there’s a danger of losing focus on the main issue.
In plenty of cases, people would rather point to other offenders and other problems within the GAA without actually acknowledging and facing up to the fact that McCann was in the wrong and that there should be an official mechanism in place so that he is rightly punished for what he did.
Issuing McCann with any sort of a ban is unfair under current circumstances and under the rules that currently apply.
From next season, thanks in no small part to the controversy this whole episode has generated, the GAA have an opportunity to ensure that justice is served.