Despite his apology immediately following the choke job on a teammate, Renaldo Balkman was fined and banned for life by the Philippine Basketball Association. PBA commissioner Chito Salud explains the heavy-handed decision (per Inquirer Sports): “For initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron team mates and superiors, including the head coach and assistant coaches, amounting to a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ballclub, the League, the fans and his host country, import player Renaldo Balkman is hereby meted the following penalties: Ban from playing in the Philippine Basketball Association; and, A fine of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pesos (PhP250,000.00). In arriving at this decision, I took into consideration Balkman’s track record as a player, including the head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a pre-Season game in Cebu City. I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him. Stiff as it maybe, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the over-all interest of the League and the fans. I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behaviour, he will be made accountable.”


We just got the following email from Renaldo Balkman’s publicist, Shawn Zanotti of Exact Publicity:

“I would like to thank my teammates, the fans who have given me unconditional support and I adore, the Philippines Basketball Association and the entire Petron Blaze Boosters organization for allowing me to do what I enjoy doing best—playing the game of basketball.

I fully accept all responsibility for my actions, expressed frustration, during the midst of an intense game. I would especially like to apologize once again formally to Arwind Santos as I would never intentionally inflict harm on another human being, especially him, a teammate who I care for and respect deeply. Again, I am sorry for my irresponsible actions. I apologize whole heartedly for acting unprofessional. I obviously let my game disappointment and emotions get the best of me.

This was a life-learning lesson that I will ensure will never be repeated. To my other fellow basketball colleagues, I am sorry. Our industry should maintain the highest level of professionalism during all times.

I thank you all for your support during this time.”