Bobby Martinez arrived in New York the first week of September to compete in the most glorified surf competition in the world the Quiksilver Pro (ASP World Tour). After a few short days, and a few stellar waves one would think he was destined for stardom. After winning his second heat, this notorious surfer was about to enter heat three to compete against the best surfer in the world, ten-time world champion, Kelly Slater (a surfer who he beat in their last meeting in Brazil).
Martinez emerged from the water with a smile on his face after beating the Australian great Bede Durbridge, waltzed straight up to the Quiksilver Pro commentator to give what was assumed to be his post event address. Instead to everyone’s surprise he went on to dishonor the world tour explicitly on a live broadcast. Martinez’s outburst was unexpected and astonishing for the viewers as well as the other surfers. Fans of all ages all over the world were watching this broadcast, and exposed to language unsuitable for young children.
I believe that professional athletes often times use explicit language and dishonor their sport in a variety of ways, and yet their governing bodies do little to reprimand the players. According to Thompson (2003) honoring the game is part of the culture of both the player and the coach, and when the player is not honoring the game he should be told immediately, whether or not he is open to hearing it. While surfing is different than most sports in that there is usually no coach, in this scenario the governing body has acted as the coach, and explained to Martinez that by humiliating the sport there will be consequences.
The disqualification of Martinez came as a huge surprise to the surf world, but I believe it changed the surf circuit, as well as set an example for other sports. Athletes are regular human beings, although many people tend to forget that. They need to be put in their place and told when they are wrong just like everyone else. They should have to suffer the consequences for their actions, and that is exactly what Martinez is being forced to do. Hopefully the strong position the ASP tour committee took will change the way other governing bodies reprimand their athletes. This kind of behavior should not be tolerated, and I believe all sports should follow in the footsteps of the ASP World Tour, and hold their athletes accountable for their actions. These athletes are the heroes to young children and should start acting like it.