Jose Sulaiman, the president of the World Boxing Council, stepped in it, knee-deep, a few days ago when he was quoted as saying that beating a woman is no big deal.
He said this to writer Ronnie Nathanielsz, who writes for the Manila Standard and Boxing Scene, while on the subject of Floyd Mayweather's sentence of 90 days or less in jail for a domestic violence charge, and jaws were dropping to floors when people in the fight game got wind of it.
"(B)eating a lady is highly critical, [but] it is not a major sin or crime,” Sulaiman, who speaks Spanish as his primary language, was quoted as saying.
I blogged about the remark here, and today on TSS, I opined that he should retract his remark, or resign his post. A few hours later, Sulaiman released a statement, attempting to clarify his intentions.
“I would like to clarify my feelings about some recent comments of mine, and apologize for not finding the right words in English - there are many times when I cannot find the right words to express what I really mean. The comments attributed to me are a complete misrepresentation of my true feelings.
“I am a devoted husband and father of two daughters, and have three wonderful granddaughters, as well. The Virgin of Guadalupe is my superior saint. I am the person that developed female boxing, and I am the person in the WBC that has always been concerned with the protection of women in the ring. I have always been a strong supporter of women’s rights and the protection of women in society. Those are the facts – everybody knows me.
“In my comments, I just meant to say that I have always been in the corner of all the boxers of the world. They are my greatest heroes and, good or bad, I will always be in their corner.
“I know Floyd Mayweather personally, and I know that he’s a good person. I know that he accepted a plea deal for a serious offense, and I did not intend to make light of that. The judge sentenced him to 90 days, which I think is fair. But I know that Floyd is a good human being with a good heart, and I am confident that he will redeem himself with his actions in the future.
“I just wanted Floyd to know that the WBC will always stay strongly in his corner.”
One fight game insider messaged me right after this statement came out. He expressed his feeling that this "clarification" is BS, and he doesn't buy it that Sulaiman misspoke because of a language barrier.
I tend to think the sanctioning bodies get hammered too readily, because they are such collossal targets, and writers feel they can score moral points without fear of pissing off promoters or power brokers. I reached out to a go-between for Sulaiman early this afternoon, asking for a statement of clarification, and promised I'd be fair and decent and not hammer the guy for sport. But I must say, I was a bit put off by how Sulaiman chose to close his statement, with a big ole butt smooch of Floyd Mayweather. I would have preferred some more extensive explanation of just what he meant to say originally, of what he said in Spanish, and what he truly meant. These are the questions I wanted Sulaiman to answer:
When and where was the Nathanielsz interview done? Do you really think beating a lady is not a major sin or crime? Was there more to the quote that was left out? Can you clarify why and how you think, if the quote is correct, why beating a woman is not a major sin or crime, and what transgressions you do consider major sins and crimes? Do you believe that it is an overreaction for people to respond to your stance by calling for your removal as WBC president? Regarding the quote..that the WBC “should not touch his (Mayweather’s) career or his title because we want him to fight (Manny) Pacquiao which is the fight that the world wants and perhaps the last boxing match of both" do you understand that this stance makes a farce of the WBC rules, which call for a boxer serving jail time to be stripped of his title and removed from the rankings? Why have rules and regulations if they are so selectively adhered to? If you regret your remarks about the relative severity of the crime of domestic violence, does you wish to address victims/survivors of domestic violence directly?
What about you readers? What's your take on this flap? Is this the sort of conduct you expect from the WBC and the like? Are fightwriters being too hard on Sulaiman? Weigh in!