INSIDE SPORTS: STANDING BY HIS BELIEFS
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sat, 20 Feb 2016
WE sure as hell don’t wish to get into a joust with Filipinos who are lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender, but at the same time, we believe the torrent of criticism on eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao for his condemnation of same-sex marriage and the decision of Nike to terminate its relationship with him is simply too much.
How could Nike, which runs sweatshops in Asia and pays young people slave wages and forces them to work under inhuman conditions and suffer verbal and physical abuse, act in such a high-handed manner as though the company was God’s gift to humanity?
Our own reaction, at least in the Philippines is, let’s all switch to Adidas which may well be a better brand.
But what is most distressing are the comments of Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to Ring Magazine, which ironically styles itself as “The Bible of Boxing” in which he damned Pacquiao’s anti-gay statements as “reprehensible” and expressed the hope that the public doesn’t equate his views with the promotion for his third fight with Timothy Bradley on April 9.
Arum sought to distance Pacquiao’s views from anyone involved in his fight on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“The only way you do damage control is he apologized and we move away from the possibility that anybody would think we or Bradley or anyone connected to the fight believes in what he did say. And if (Pacquiao) believes it, it’s unfortunate but that’s his belief. You can’t really affect somebody who is saying things that you don’t believe in but is part of their religious beliefs.”
Bottom line, it’s all about the money. Arum wants to protect his financial interest in the fight and make sure that a fight which most boxing media and fans failed to appreciate as the best possible fight for Pacquiao, doesn’t take a major hit in pay-per-view numbers without conceding that even before the furor over Manny’s remarks broke out, the fight failed to excite too many boxing fans.
We must remember that Pacquiao was articulating his beliefs anchored on his understanding of the scriptures and God’s word in the Bible, which has, in the last few years, turned his life almost totally around and made him a good and decent husband and father, who has cast aside the evils of womanizing, gambling and other vices precisely by his adherence to God’s word.
While his blunt categorization of couples in same-sex marriages as being worse than animals was indiscreet to say the least, considering his stature as a national sports hero and someone who is seeking a seat in the Senate and who aspires to someday be the president of our country, for lesbians who married in the confines of a permissive society in the United States to blast Manny as an “ignorant, bigoted hypocrite,” was just as uncalled for as the remarks of Pacquiao, which they condemn.
Surely, those who exercise the freedom to marry people of the same sex or to engage in sex must recognize Pacquiao’s right to bare his feelings about something he feels strongly about considering the religious environment in our country.
His position on same-sex marriages is consistent with his stance on the Reproductive Health legislation which he opposed in congress and which he believed was being foisted upon us by international agencies and giant western pharmaceutical companies looking to peddle their birth control paraphernalia.
We recall one of the most articulate Catholic priests in Sri Lanka, Fr. Noel Cruz, who many years ago preached against birth control in the guise of trying to contain poverty by pointing out that God created man and woman with two hands which they could put to good use to earn a living.
It was at the same time, an indictment of sloth and mendicancy which regrettably our own government pursues through its dole outs to the poor.
There have been those who have condemned Manny for his absences from congress which fails to recognize the reality that many congressmen show up for the roll call and then disappear. This was evident in the failure to pass the BBL for lack of a quorum.
We are aware that while Pacquiao may have been absent from the house of representatives, he was often spending his time in Sarangani province, the district he represents, educating the poor on the importance of protecting the environment and at the same time seeking ways and means to make their lives a little bit better.
We know that he has bought land in the province and built homes for the poor and homeless which cannot be said of others in congress, who have raped the treasury through such corruption-riddled programs as the infamous PDAF and DAP and done nothing for their constituents.
We need to remember that Manny Pacquiao, by his incredible exploits in the ring, earned our country and people the respect it deserved at a time when the Philippines was looked down upon by the international community.
Manny single-handedly restored our people’s pride which is more than we can say for those who condemn him. How very short indeed are our individual and collective memories.
The fact that Pacquiao apologized for hurting the sensibilities of the LGBT community but continued to be virtually crucified for his remarks which reminds us that Jesus Christ himself was crucified by his own people.
We are not for one moment even remotely suggesting that Pacquiao and Jesus Christ can be measured in the same light, but there is a message somewhere in this example of people turning against one of their own who was previously worshipped and glorified.
Manny’s decision to stand by his word is what sets him apart from politicians who haven’t the guts to confront the truth or those, who believe it may affect their chances in the forthcoming elections and stay away from the fray.
As Aquiles Zonio wrote on philboxing.com: “A good leader isn’t afraid to take a stand, no matter how unpopular, for the sake of the truth. A true leader will always uphold what is right in the eyes of God.”
As respected journalist Leslie Bocobo stated on Facebook —“Manny Pacquiao wrapped himself with our flag, not hypocrisy. He awakened the Filipino’s pride even to the least amongst us as he competed in the ring, win or lose.
He may not be perfect, but who is? But on this note I ask what good has Vice Ganda and Boy Abunda given the country thru the power of television? Entertainment? At the expense of the Filipino youth? By giving them the wrong set of values? Not so much with Boy Abunda, but this Vice Ganda is the epitome of everything that is immoral, scandalous, obscene, dirty, uncouth, ugly, rude, shallow and stupid.”
Far from being a bigot or a hypocrite, submission to the will of God demonstrates discernment brought about by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
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