Arnold Clavio is probably the most criticized person right now next to the Azkals or Corona. I watched the video on YouTube after I saw the fans fuming in their tweets. Well, I also saw the wittiest comments ever. I was honestly taken aback by everything. The way he said those remarks, not to mention the tone of his voice, sounded like he has a beef with the Philippine national football team. What do you have against our team, Mr. Clavio? A team who represents our country proudly and unwaveringly during every game? There was no hint of the neutrality expected of a respected journalist. I’m sure it could have been worse since he seemed like he was on a roll. Who would’ve thought that apart from the recent victory against Tajikistan, his remark would cause a national stir?
He eventually released this official statement:
Mga igan, nakakalungkot na may negatibong reaksyon ang naging pahayag ko tungkol sa Philippine Azkals kaugnay ng sexual harassment complaint ni Ms. Cristy Ramos. Wala po akong ganoong intensyon. Ang isyu po rito ay sexual harassment at kung may nagamit man po akong mga salita na hindi angkop, nagpapakumbaba po ako at humihingi ng pang-unawa. Dun naman po sa mga kasama kong nanindigan laban sa sexual harassment, maraming salamat po. Seryoso pong isyu ito na dapat bantayan.
My first reaction was, “Huh?” I reread the entire thing again and it was followed by another “Huh?” I was expecting an explanation for his disparaging remarks, but instead he focused on an entirely different issue which doesn’t involve him. I figured that it wasn’t a smart PR strategy, and if anything, it proved that he was guilty of committing a truly despicable gaffe. A sincere apology could have ended the whole thing; instead, his statement not only reignited the fans’ rage but also validated further criticisms from people beyond the Philippine football community.
Reaction across the Web is reaching a fever pitch and an online petition to sanction him is being passed around (Arnold Clavio – GMA Host: Sanction Arnold Clavio for his racist statement). The backlash against Mr. Clavio should be expected not only by Clavio himself, but by GMA and the media as a whole. These are figures and organizations people should be able to trust as humanity and societies continue the fight against prejudice, discrimination, and racism. That a news anchor or journalist made such remarks truly epitomizes a public display of disgracefulness and ignorance. In light of them, the public’s reaction does not surprise me one bit, and as a Filipino, I am proud that the public is acting the way they have. (For instance, recall the recent backlash against FHM Philippines for a cover distastefully depicting dark-skinned models.) I know most people are simply asking for a sincere apology or even just an expression of realization from Mr. Clavio. (Read the letter of the Philippine Football Federation)
Yes, there are many reasons for why people have been so angered and I could probably spend an entire day discussing them. But if all else fails, let us not forget: We can’t let our feelings blind us from being decent human beings. What’s next? Death threats? Hate mail? No, please don’t. Cyberbullying and similar tactics are just as repulsive and only discredit those who engage in them. I think we’ve all made our point and the team will forever appreciate how their fans stood up for them. Like a friend of mine said, “Win or lose, people will always have something to say about the team. Success is the best revenge!”