This past week’s unprovoked attack on the persona of local sport scribes by the seemingly shameless hierarchy of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) warrants a strong fulmination and should certainly not be left unchallenged.
The NNOC on Thursday held a press conference where they were expected to present a “comprehensive” report on Team Namibia’s performance at the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and also shed more light on the drawn-out sexual harassment case of boxer Jonas Junias as well as mapping the way forward for Namibian Olympians, given their unenthusiastic display in Rio.
But instead of the report putting more emphasis on the declining plight of Namibian athletes and providing solutions and strategies on how Namibia can better her performance at the next Olympics – the NNOC officials for some strange reason, although not entirely surprising, diverted their attention from issues at hand and rather launched a scathing attack on journalists present at the gathering.
As reported in the media, NNOC vice-president Jesse Schickerling, who was Namibia’s chef de mission at the Olympics, used the platform to blast local sport scribes for their apparent unpatriotic and irresponsible reporting of the case of Jonas – claiming that the local press unfairly crucified the 22-year-old boxer and also impelled negativity towards the NNOC and the country’s athletes.
As has become typical of most Namibian sports administrators whenever athletes perform scantily at international events, Schickerling further went on to accuse journalists of apparently having vilified the substandard performance of Namibian athletes.
If I have to quickly conceptualize the abovementioned absurd remarks by the NNOC, I would say it’s clear lack of respect from the side of the NNOC and equally undermines and threatens relations between the NNOC and the media.
Contrary to their disgraceful reaction towards the media, the NNOC officials should rather bury their heads in shame and realise that they have nobody to blame but themselves for the humiliation Jonas went through in Brazil.
While it took the ever-awake international media just a few minutes to break the news of Jonas’ alleged sexual harassment – right under the noses of the seemingly nodding NNOC officials – it took the Namibian officials almost 24 hours to pronounce themselves on the charges brought against Jonas, notwithstanding the fact that they had a local media representative in Brazil at their disposal, and their social media platforms and website should have equally provided leeway for communication with the media back at home.
Schickerling and co. know very well that they should have handled the matter with the professionalism and sensitivity it deserves, but it appears they wanted to keep the matter under wraps and disclose it at their discretion. Sorry brother, that’s not how it works in the ever-growing world of journalism!
Just like with crime, news is news irrespective of who the newsmaker is. So did the NNOC expect local journalists to follow suit and sweep the Jonas scandal under the carpet and hopefully disclose it when they saw fit? The NNOC must account for their own failures and keep their hands off the media, finish and klaar!
Till next time, sharp, sharp!