SOCIAL media was abuzz on July 13 when the former partner of a well-known professional basketball player came out with detailed allegations of mental and physical abuse against him. The details of the alleged abuse are well documented in her posts online and I will not repeat them here out of respect for her experience and because the details may trigger those who have experienced any kind of physical and mental abuse.
The revelations however were enough to cause lots of noise online as many chimed in to offer their support and express their anger at what happened just as some fans of the basketball player chimed in too to attack the accuser.
By the end of the day, it was the headline story in popular sports websites and the talk of the town among University of the Philippines alumni, the alma mater of both the player and the former partner who was also quite known during her time as the television court side reporter of the basketball team during their unforgettable rise to almost win the championship a few years ago.
Theirs looked to outsiders like a fairy tale come true – she the articulate, intelligent and beautiful court side reporter and he, the hero of that men’s basketball team that rose well above expectations and predictions that year and almost toppled a basketball dynasty. That it all turned into a nightmare is a heart-breaking story. If the allegations are proven, the player deserves the full consequences of his actions under Republic Act 9262, our Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children law. That this story also came out so soon after a similar domestic abuse case in the NBA involving player Miles Bridges only brings more urgent focus on the problem.
Then there is the horrific tone deaf statement of Blackwater, the player’s PBA team on the issue.
It reads, in full:
“We respect the personal life and privacy of our players unless they seek our help and assistance. We reserve the right to comment on any social media posts especially if they are unverified
If the allegations were true and the concerned player consents, then we will look into it and possibly come out with our position.”
Definitely, we abhor any and all forms of violence against women and children. Women and children deserve nothing less of our love and respect.”
First, this glaringly belittles the allegations by effectively reducing it to a personal and private life issue aired on social media. That is wrong. Crimes are alleged to have been committed. The employer cannot simply wash their hands and say it is a private matter.
Second, the statement puts a premium on the player’s consent. And if does not? They will possibly not look into it? How wonderful it would be to work for a company that if ever an issue as serious as committing a crime ever comes up against me, they will not lift a finger to know more unless I give consent.
Finally, the statement is horrific because it ends with an empty statement that proclaims their feelings about the issue while ignoring that they are not lifting a finger, not doing anything UNTIL THE MAN ACCUSED CONSENTS. When women rail against male patriarchy, it is precisely this kind of behavior they are protesting.
Mercifully, the PBA issued a much better worded, clear and decisive statement.
“The league will not tolerate any form of domestic abuse. No matter the cause or circumstances, physical and psychological abuse of women, whether in the confines of marriage or not, is inexcusable,” read the statement.
This report deserves to be given serious attention by both the ball club concerned and the PBA itself.
We are confident that the Blackwater management will extend its full cooperation and assistance toward ensuring that a just determination is reached.”
The PBA may be confident in Blackwater management. Given their previous statement of just not getting it, I do not share the same confidence. Let’s watch this story closely and hold the team, the association, the player and ourselves accountable.