By Sean Crose
The World Boxing Council has suspended junior welterweight Adrien Broner for being offensive. The Council, for those who don’t know, partially rules over a sport where athletes regularly punch each other in the face. It’s easy to see, then, why the WBC puts such value in competitor’s good manners.
Broner, you see, made a tasteless, bragging statement the other night about beating a “Mexican” opponent, Carlos Molina. The fact that Broner employed the word “Mexican” was presumably too much for the WBC – which itself has a history of raising eyebrows – to stomach. The Council issued a press release which claimed it “will not accept a former WBC champion to make racially offensive statements.”
No definition was given as to what constitutes a “racially offensive”statement to the Council, but then again, no one should be surprised. The Council, after all, has been suspected over the years of having fluid definitions of what constitutes things like champions and contenders. Figuratively speaking, it’s terms are said to wonderfully fluctuate.
For example, the WBC found no reason to suspend Floyd Mayweather Jr for his referring to Manny Pacquiao in 2010 as “that little yellow chump.” Perhaps it was because the Council thought such language was permissible at the time. Or perhaps it was because the WBC just didn’t fear an outcry from Asian communities in general. Who can tell? Moral indignation is often a very selective thing, after all.
One thing’s for certain, however – the organization which reportedly once gave Roy Jones Jr someone else’s title without Jones having to fight for it will undoubtedly make new friends with its decision to punish Broner.
We live in an age, of course, where offending certain people – though definitely not all people – is considered taboo. At least in some cases. It depends, actually, on who does the offending. And if the offended party is deemed worth caring about. It’s all very advanced and complex, you see. Best to just let the the most honorable and brightest among us sort it all out.
And who better to do the sorting than the WBC? Besides having been accused of being in cahoots with Don King back in the day, as well as for demanding close to $300,000 dollars from Evander Holyfield so he could battle Larry Holmes, the Council has also been rumored to have picked and chosen favorites for years. What other group, I ask, could possibly be better suited to act as judge, jury and executioner during these wicked times?
As for Broner (the scoundrel!), he’s been ordered to explain himself or apologize if he wants to be sanctioned by the WBC again. He can simulate raping an opponent in the ring, he can hit that opponent well after the bell has rung, he can even flush money down a public toilet – but he’d better apologize for using the word “Mexican.” The World Boxing Council has spoken.
One could well wonder where this all might lead. What else, for instance, could the WBC construe as being “racially offensive?” Broner taunted Paulie Malignaggi before and after their close fight. Does that mean Broner was racially offensive towards Caucasians? Or was the man simply being offensive to Italian Americans? Clearly he couldn’t have been just being a jerk. Goodness, no.
And let’s look at Broner’s victories. Certainly the man has beaten fighters of various races. Do these violent acts constitute hate crimes in the benevolent eyes of the WBC? What about the times Broner has defeated his fellow African Americans? Can one commit a hate crime on a member of one’s own race? Perhaps the WBC could provide an answer to that vexing question. Or not.
Either way, it’s really good to know that in this age of sophomoric, knee-jerk reactions, the World Boxing Council is ready to stand tall as a beacon of nuance and maturity.