Stay calm and be sensitive
As the world becomes a smaller place where people from different backgrounds come together in various fields, sensitive issues become more amplified and require deft handling and understanding.
Racism was not really a major PBA concern until perhaps that moment when NLEX coach Yeng Guiao allegedly yelled, “nigger,” at San Miguel guard Chris Ross.
The game at Cuneta Astrodome was a passionate battle with elbows, shoves and words being exchanged. According to Beermen coach Leo Austria, Ross told him that Guiao used the term during their confrontation.
Guiao has denied the accusation but the sensitive issue is out in the open. Social media has become a platform to express thoughts on the incident and its present and future implications.
The issue was going to surface sooner or later. Players coming from different backgrounds are put together in what is now a very global PBA.
Even regional differences are part of the mix but have managed to remain low key since basketball talent has been the larger concern whether one is from Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao.
Trash talking at any point of the game can ignite the sensitivities. Veteran players of the early years of the PBA would describe how imports would taunt the local stars when elbows crossed in the trenches. The locals would answer back with unprintable assaults and would be left there on the court.
And yet it is also well known that locals would sometimes bait the imports to mess up their games. Some would bite but the really outstanding imports simply brushed the trash talk away.
It is important now to understand that greater discretion and sensitivity must prevail in the league. Filipino players and coaches must avoid talking loosely about imports or Filipino-foreigners and making ethnicity a joke, comment or taunt.
In the same vein, the Fil-foreigners must continue to calmly orient the league and its fans on how and why racism and political incorrectness can be hurting and painful.
Many Filipinos have not had the chance to visit other countries and become aware of the struggles of children of mixed backgrounds, even if they are, more often not, related to them.
Let’s move on from this but with greater understanding and patience from all.
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