After his off the oche antics at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts, Gerwyn Price has been fined a total of £21,500 and given a suspended three-month ban.
Price was fined for multiple incidents at the tournament, £12,000 for his provocative celebrations towards Gary Anderson and slow play in the Grand Final, £1,500 for his post-match comments on social media and £8000 for gamesmanship in the quarter final against Simon Whitlock.
Referring to his grand final win, the Welshman believed he simply got under Anderson’s skin. His over-exuberance should not distract Anderson from playing his own game.
In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Price stated; “He can’t handle playing me. I’m throwing my darts, he needs to wait for his turn. He just moans every time that I’m doing this, doing that. Concentrate on your own game.” The Iceman reaffirmed his post-match comments on social media, which he has since deleted.
Contrary to Price’s comments, other players have found his antics deplorable. Simon Whitlock also became frustrated with Price’s antics.
Price intentionally slow-played his shot at double-20 in the 17th leg and extensively berated the crowd after hitting double-10. His gesturing to the crowd continued in subsequent legs: slowing the game down and disrupting Whitlock’s rhythm.
The same disruption happened to Gary Anderson, losing eight of the last 10 legs after the confrontation between both players.
With Price being a repeat offender, his actions could not be ignored. The PDC are considering punishments for gamesmanship during matches, starting with a warning and can escalating into lost legs.
Barry Hearn, Chairman of the PDC, aims to crack down on gamesmanship. “Any celebration verging on gamesmanship would be something we frown upon.”
Despite their best intentions, the PDC have not gone far enough in punishing Price for gamesmanship.
‘Proper punishments to combat the problem’
Mind games and antics between players has long been a part of Darts and the PDC need to define gamesmanship and hand out proper punishments to combat the problem.
The 2019 World Championships were rife with incidents: James Wades’ aggressive celebrations against Seigo Asada and Keegan Brown’s apparent slow play against James Wade being just some examples.
A little bit of celebration and needle from players is part of the game but multiple incidents from players which disrupt their opponent is too far. Price’s punishment is not a deterrent for future incidents.
Removing Price from the upcoming Premier League or the Masters would send a clear message that his antics in the Grand Slam final are unacceptable. Any excessive celebrations, gestures and actions which stop the player from playing the board should be punished for gamesmanship.
With Price being allowed to play in lucrative darts majors, the PDC are accepting his actions, intentionally or otherwise.
The ideas from the PDC about punishing gamesmanship during matches are encouraging but the current post-match punishments will only lead to more incidents in the future.
Author: Freddie Webb