There’s a Facebook campaign to get people to go to the La Salle-Ateneo game this weekend to wear white shirts instead of the usual green and blue that each side dons. The suggestion is that being in white will unite both schools in the stand against pork barrel funds being used and abused in the country.
Being a sports piece, this space will not be devoted to the pork issue as this newspaper and its many writers and columnists have tackled it quite extensively already. My concern is the sporting angle and whether using the popular rivalry as a venue to express a political sentiment is appropriate or fitting.
First of all, the move is a suggestion, not an imposition. La Sallians can still opt to wear green and Ateneans can come in blue and cheer for their respective sides. The invitation to wear white is made in case anyone from either side would like to join in the attempt to make a visible protest.
Second, the two schools have already come to the game in yellow in a salute to President Cory Aquino when she passed away. The two sides still cheered, and of course jeered, but being in mostly yellow shirts proved that both sides can agree sometimes. In other words, it’s been done before and for another color. Why not one more time?
Third, the attempt to voice a sentiment is a peaceful one. Again, no one is being coerced to wear white and there will be, as far as I can tell, no streamers or other paraphernalia denouncing pork. The event, after all, is a classification-phase game in the UAAP tournament. Messing up the game will upset more people in the venue than pork.
There will of course be those who will not care and will still come in their chosen battle color. Some may even don white on top of a blue or green shirt and take off the white garment once the game gets under way. Like in most public events, it is really to each his own.
As long as taste, decorum and order are not violated, people can wear what they want. If I had a ticket to the game (which I never have), I would wear white because the invitation was interesting and expressive of my position on the issue. I wouldn’t mind it as well if people shared my sentiments but opted to stay blue or green.
So, is the effort fitting in the sports context? It depends on who’s evaluating. When Olympic sprinters from a different time lifted their clenched fists during the American national anthem at the medal ceremony, not all sympathized with the effort. Many supported the cause and either lauded or denounced what the protest means.
The sentiments will probably be similar where many will wear white while others will ignore the plea, feeling the game is not the place to do it. As for me, I’m wearing white even while watching the game on TV this weekend.