Keep Calm and Forgive Pacquiao
Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
There’s absolutely no denying, what Manny Pacquiao said about the LGBT community was wrong and inexcusable. Since then he has repeatedly apologized for his offensive comment given in an interview with BILANG PILIPINO / TV5 Phil star’s election coverage. The longer one minute version has been posted on facebook by Kupal Lord. Pacquiao has literally paid for it as a number of his endorsement contracts have been axed most notably with Nike. Wonderful Pistachio has followed suit in distancing themselves from Pacquiao after he did a TVC for them in 2012.
The public humiliation and the loss of potentially millions of dollars in endorsement deals in my opinion is more than enough ‘punishment’ for him. There has been more than enough backlash for his comments that clearly have not been thought through. Thousands of derogatory statements have been made against Pacquiao online. Boy Abunda and Vice Ganda have weighed in and urged Pinoys not to vote for him in the Senate.
In the one-minute interview video posted by ‘Kupal Lord’, he qualified his statement not condemning the LGBT but the sin of marriage. Manny speaks from his religious convictions almost transparently. Manny is not like traditional politicians such as Jejomar Binay who lie to their teeth about their support for the poor while exploiting them at every turn. Chiz Escudero has the same guile and ‘experience’ as Jejomar with enough double talk to betray his running mate Grace Poe and our people.
Kobe’s Anti Gay Slur
In 2011 the NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 after he called a ref a faggot and was captured on TV in the middle of a game. Kobe has immediately apologized saying it was out of frustration and the ‘heat of the game’. ADVOCATE and OUT Magazine have taken note that Kobe has learned his lesson and cited his tweets last 2013: “Just letting you know @pacsmoove @pookeo9 that using ‘your gay’ as a way to put someone down ain’t ok! #notcool delete that out ur vocab,” he wrote to them and 2.5 million followers. He also addressed his homophobic past, “That wasn’t cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others. Now in his last season Kobe is feted in every NBA arena as he goes on his farewell tour as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
IF the American public can forgive Kobe Bryant and move on from his anti gay slur why can’t we forgive Pacquiao? Especially since Manny has come to represent our country more than any other athlete for the past 20 years. Let’s not go overboard and completely disparage the reputation of one person who has sacrificed so much for his countrymen for decades now.
I’m completely open and honest that I’m a huge boxing fan way before Manny Pacquiao ever came to prominence. I remember being a small child chanting the name of Mohammed Ali. Later on as a teen mesmerized by Luisito Espinosa, Rolando Navarete, were just as iconic to Filipinos as Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.
And like millions of Filipinos seeing the rise of someone like Manny Pacquiao achieve 8 championship belts in 8 separate weight divisions was something unreal. What Manny has done in the sport and beyond exceeds all of those names. IF you told me a Filipino could and would achieve what Manny has done to me as a young sports fan, I would not have believed you. I wouldn’t believe an American or any other race could do it. Realistically there will never be another Pacquiao in our country or anywhere else in the world.
SO it was very easy for us for the media, myself included to put Manny Pacquiao up on a pedestal more as a god than human. He did it all, he’s invincible and he doesn’t make mistakes. The whole country stops and watches his fights. He does what decades of peace talks, the BBL couldn’t DO and that is to have a temporary ceasefire with the NPA, MNLF, MILF and Abu Sayaaf, everyone including the Phil Army, the whole country stops to watch his fights.
I remember covering former Malaysian PM Mahathir’s very exclusive talk here. His security Colonels from the Malaysian Army couldn’t stop talking about Pacquiao’s fight. They told me they identified with Manny as an Asian.
Pacquiao has achieved godlike status, not just for us Pinoys but even as far as Serbia. Guess what? He IS human. He does make mistakes. He’s ALREADY paid for it dearly. Let us not completely abandon our hero when he has meant so much to elevate our country in the eyes of the world. Generally, he’s a good person. Manny was very forgiving to his father who abandoned them and started a new family. Not only bringing his father to the U.S. but also bought him and his new family a house.
Every single prizefight, no matter how bitter and even in his losses, Pacquiao was humble enough to go over his opponent for a conciliatory hug. If he can be that generous to his rivals why can’t we do the same for him?
WHY can’t we as a people be more forgiving to someone who has repeatedly brought so much honor to our country? He’s paid the price. STILL there’s an avalanche of people online, everywhere wanting even more blood, even more humiliation for Manny.
It seems in our culture, crab mentality is still very prevalent. We all take delight in bashing and putting someone down after achieving so much. The more popular and accomplished, the more gleeful we are in the misstep.
Pacquiao has lost the Nike endorsement and several others. He has apologized publicly on video. He too has learned his lesson like Kobe. Yet there are calls to postpone even boycott his fight with Tim Bradley, calls to disqualify him as a senatorial candidate. Clearly the backlash has gone too far, persecuting him. Collectively, we should all take a deep breath, Keep Calm and forgive Pacquiao.
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