Sports Eye

Racism has no place in sports

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

WE, the dedicated basketball fans know how to accept defeat, and how to act if our team wins. And that’s exactly how we felt last August 16 when the San Miguel team after trailing, 1-2, in the best-of-seven finals series of this year’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup unexpectedly turned in incredibly victorious in three outings consecutively over its arch-rival TNT squad to win the championship, 4-2! I doff my hat to them. My prediction (and others, too) that the series will reach seven games was wrong.

As in the past, it was a huge celebration for the Beermen and everyone forgot about the dirty slur thrown by their forward Arwind Santos at TNT’s import Terence Jones, the black American, in the fifth game that sparked an uproar especially in the social media, for or against the SMB team. That should not have happened. It’s obvious that the three-point specialist Santos is not a Holy Bible reader, because if he is, he would have made that racial and contemptible rant. The Good Book says that we should always be humble so he will exalt us. Taunting is self-exalting and a prejudicial gesture which the good Lord doesn’t approve of.

But despite Santos’ apologies to Jones before the start of the sixth game which Jones good-naturedly accepted, but the damage has been done, particularly to  SMB’s image.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial did not tolerate the totally unacceptable incident and penalized Santos with P200k fine, a mandatory community service of 100 hours and directed Santos to counseling and education due to the sensitivity of social issues. But he did not suspend Santos because the incident happened outside the court, there was no physical contact and had no bearing on the result of the match. I doff my cap to Marcial.

But Marcial showed a firm and strong message to all PBA concerned that racial taunt or gesture is an act of discrimination. In short, racism has no place in sports. I agree.

What happened to Jones reminded me during my early days as an amateur cyclist. Some of my village mates called me “anak sa labas or bastardo” and even belittled me for not succeeding in my chosen sports career. Yes, it’s true that I’m a son of a Mexican fellow and a Filipina out of marriage. But I’m not ashamed about my status. In fact, I am proud that despite being an illegitimate child that encountered countless discriminations, I reached my goals. In fact, their disparaging words then became a huge challenge to me. Luckily with the help of God, I realized  my dreams which many of my co-cyclists sadly failed to achieve. But “mahirap magsalita ng patapos,” as the saying goes..

Remember what God said in his Good Book: “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right check, turn the other to him also.” He also said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” You can find these at Book of Matthew 5: 39, 7:1 and 22: 12. These sentences pertain all to Santos.  
And that’s what Jones did to Santos, did not retaliate, stayed humble, and instead accepted Santos’ apology. And so do I, to my (then) critics.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.EPHESIANS 4: 26-27

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