Arnold Clavio and the Azkals redux | Inquirer Sports
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Arnold Clavio and the Azkals redux

/ 02:10 AM March 25, 2012

SACRAMENTO, California—From Kathmandu where they closed out their performance in the AFC Challenge Cup with a fiery third place finish, the Philippine Azkals returned home this week, seeking another closure of sorts.

It looks like they won’t get their wish.

Before flying to Nepal’s capital, the Azkals—already in a national pickle for alleged school boy behavior towards a female soccer match commissioner—figured in another furor with GMA network news personality Arnold Clavio.

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The uproar erupted when Clavio, known to TV viewers as “Igan,” short for kaibigan (friend), raised hackles among the half-whites, or “tisoys” in the team and half-breeds of the Tribung Pinoy abroad.

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While tackling the issue of sexual harassment and the complaint filed against two Azkals by Cristy Ramos—who happens to be a daughter of a former Philippine president—Clavio went ballistic while addressing the Azkals on the air:

“Ang yayabang ninyo, porket dinadagsa kayo ng mga fans… ang ga-guwapo niyo di ba… parang God’s gift to women… Hindi ko kayo kakultura..eh hindi naman kayo Pilipino, nagpapanggap lang kayong kayumanggi. Hindi naman kayo lumaki dito… mahirap ‘yong insensitive.”  (You are so cocky because fans come to see you in droves. Maybe you’re handsome, like you are God’s gift to women. But you don’t share my culture, because you are not Filipino, you did not grow up here… you are only posing as kayumanggi (brown complexioned). That’s insensitive.)

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In Clavio’s command performance, now enshrined on YouTube, you could almost feel his words tearing through the heart of every part-Pinoy born overseas; you could almost hear the chilling “Jaws” theme playing in the background.

As the brouhaha was gaining traction, the Kapuso channel, instead of a preemptive statement to soften Clavio’s bombast, gave their talent a stamp of approval. The giant network said it deemed that Clavio was right about his opinion of the team.

Only this week, in time for the arrival of the Azkals and their request for a written apology and Clavio’s reprimand, GMA’s legal team built an airtight case for their “Unang Hirit” news anchor.

In a letter addressed to the Philippine Football Federation, the network’s legal staff said it found nothing “racist, discriminatory, libelous or malicious” in Clavio’s rant against the team and therefore “cannot accede to your demands.” GMA’s lawyers said their man became unplugged in the commentary section of the newscast.

An anchor donning another hat as a commentator in the same news show? Wow!

Azkals manager Dan Palami told me by e-mail that “we as a team don’t intend to pursue any more formal complaint” against Clavio. He said the Azkals would rather use their “energy and resources to pursue more worthwhile endeavors to fire up the youth about soccer—do clinics, build football centers, even play charity matches for the less fortunate and disaster victims.

“He (Clavio) can rant for as long as he wants, he can never take away the Filipino in us,” Dan said.

Palami informed me that a disciplinary committee has begun looking into the Cristy Ramos affair and will forward its findings and recommendations to the Asian Football Confederation and the PFF.

“The players, including those not mentioned (in the Ramos complaint) have decided to shed light on the matter and have submitted statements to the committee.”

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“I think the fans and PFF have said their piece about Clavio’s tirade, Palami said. “We are saddened by his remarks because as a journalist it would have been more prudent for him to ascertain the facts from both sides, and better yet to wait for the decision of the disciplinary committee, before doing his bashing in front of millions of viewers.”

TAGS: AFC Challenge Cup, Arnold Clavio, Azkals, Football, Philippine Azkals, Television

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