Mendoza: Keeping one’s word

·2 min read

When a contract is live, it is binding to all parties that signed it. The only exception is if it was done under duress, or executed illegally, or accomplished without all the rudiments required by law. Then and only then can it not be honored.

Is that hard to understand?

That’s like one plus one equals two—that simple.

That’s all there is to it in the Will Navarro case now fast turning out as the hottest piece of conversation on the basketball front—alas, for the wrong reasons.

Navarro signed in July to play for the Seoul Samsung Thunders in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).

Unfortunately, the former Ateneo star had earlier signed to play for the national team under the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

The SBP contract, said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, stipulates that Navarro “will play for the national team, attend activities, practices and social and business functions and with his undeniable agreement, be assigned only and no other team or ball club than his PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) drafting.”

NorthPort, one of 12 PBA teams, selected Navarro two years ago in a special Draft session.

To assure Navarro of fair play and that due process is observed to the hilt, the SBP sought clarification from the Fiba (World Basketball Federation) on Navarro’s Samsung contract.

Here’s Barrios on the Fiba decision: “After carefully reviewing the positions of the Korea Basketball Association and the SBP, Fiba issued its decision on Sept. 12, 2022, ‘not to allow Mr. Navarro to join the Samsung Thunders.’”

No big deal there, actually. Fiba was merely enforcing the essence of the law: Live by what the contract has stated.

Said the SBP: “The SBP does not intend to unduly prevent players from furthering their careers with other teams here or overseas. But it is fundamental and ethical practice for players to honor their existing contracts with their mother teams.”

How true.

Indeed, while an athlete must have the talent and skill as tools to gain glory, achieving stardom, success, without discipline and the innate trait to keep one’s word would mean nothing in the end.

At 25, Navarro’s misstep is just as meaningless as an insignificant hiccup. Move on, Will.