It's the racism issue, Mr. Clavio

THE Philippine Football Federation has finally fought back against Arnold Clavio and filed a complaint against him for saying that the members of the national team are not Filipinos and are just pretending to be brown-skinned.

Mind you, if this happened in a footballing-nation, or one that has racism concerns, Clavio would have either been sacked or suspended.  But because it happened here, nothing has been heard from Clavio and GMA 7.

As a fan of GMA 7, and what it stands for, and even as a fan of Arnold Clavio himself, his actions—and non-actions--after his statements, are very disappointing.

Some of Clavio’s defenders, including Katrina Stuart Santiago who wrote “The truth about the sexual harassment case” on GMA’s website seem to be clueless to what Clavio did.

While raising valid points on various every day scenarios when women are sexually harassed, Katrina added, condescendingly, “But apparently in third- world patriarchal Philippines, we can take sexual harassment and make the men look like the victims …Apparently here, we will re-focus all our energies on crying racist! Even when all that’s being pointed out is the fact that these boys did not grow up here…

It’s OK to be racist if you’re espousing sexual harassment awareness? And why the need to point out that they didn’t grow up here? If they did, would that mean they would be more respectful of women? Then what about your everyday scenarios where the perpetrators are guys who grew up here?

Katrina, Arnold Clavio and GMA, again, got it wrong.

I could care less what Clavio would say about the sexual harassment case. Heck in that disputed telecast, everything he said—except those two lines—could be considered the legitimate points of view of a mediaman—a crude one, but still legitimate. Clavio’s insinuations of sex parties and sexually-transmitted diseases? Still valid.

And I happen to agree with him, and those who defend him, that sexual harassment is a serious thing and must be dealt with, seriously. I spent my final week in college going to classrooms discussing sexual harassment as part of AB Sociology’s support for women’s month and I remember telling students not to be afraid to speak up. 

But he crossed the line when he said, “Hindi naman kayo mga Filipino, nagpapanggap lang kayo na kayumanggi.” 

That’s what got the ire of the fans, that’s what got Clavio trending and that’s why Unang Hirit's and Clavio’s fan pages in facebook are flooded by indignant comments from fans.

Arnold Clavio crossed the line and the even sadder thing is, he, GMA and those who defend him even don’t know that he did.

He said that the guys playing football for our flag are not Filipinos and that insult strikes deep into the hearts of fans, and to those who have families and friends abroad.

And this is where Clavio’s ignorance of the sport did him. You can accuse the national team of anything, but never, ever accuse them of being “not Filipinos.”

They are, as I have always said, as Filipino as any Juan.   And saying they are not Filipinos is tantamount to saying we are a nation of cheats that field ineligible players in an international competition.

Are we Arnold? Are we, GMA?

And his remarks came just as the national team was setting history in faraway Nepal and a few days after GMA heralded a Filipino-Mexican who’s doing well in American Idol?

This issue wouldn’t have been an issue at all had Clavio had  the balls to simply acknowledged his mistake. But he further fanned the fans’ ire when, in his statement, he asked for understanding, not forgiveness, and said he only said those words because sexual harassment is a big thing.

News flash Mr. Clavio, what’s also a big thing in football?


And you my former idol should be ashamed and so should GMA.

It’s not about the sexual harassment case. You and any other journalist out there who can’t tell a football from a ball girl are entitled to your opinions and are justified to say—or write—your piece, however misinformed it will be.  Just as long as you don’t cross the line.

But this is not about sexual harassment.

It’s the racism issue, Mr. Clavio


wandering-much said…
Clap, clap, clap Mike. As usual, a good read. The gall of that man reducing "being a Filipino" to color and being raised here. So many of my nieces/nephews/godchildren/cousins/aunts/uncles aren't Filipino diay. I've had many sleepless nights watching a game several time zones away and developed a relationship with livestreams. I've screamed alone in the stands watching a UFL game. And I'm a woman. Does that mean I just want to sleep with these footballers? Pastilan. I'll not say anything further about his and his co-hosts comments ky musurok lang ang akong dugo ug balik.

It is obvious that Mr Clavio does not know anything about football and its fans. We fans do anything to give our support to our team because we know that when the players wearing our crest, be it for club and especially for the flag, hit the pitch they give their all. Football fans too have long memories and I doubt if any apology now will still be accepted. A lesson learned for the media, I hope.

Racist and sexist comments/actions should never be tolerated. Unfortunately as you pointed out, such sanctions are unheard of in this budding footballing nation. But the action of the PFF to me is a sign of movement in the right direction. I just wish that people were not quick to condemn the players when the investigation was not finished. PFF has suspended an azkal player before due to his inappropriate actions.

Lastly, what makes me "happy" with this issue is the realization that football really is here to stay. So many fans, not just bandwagoners mind you, but those who'll fight and bleed for it. With that, I'll go back to work so I can finish early and catch the game later. Go Azkals! Go Philippines!
Migs said…
Very well said Mike!

Like you, I have lost respect for Arnold Clavio. What he said was not only irresponsible, it was also STUPID.
Rachel Everdene said…
Succinct and to the point. bravo, Mike! This was refreshing to read!
Paraluman said…
We shouldn't be too harsh on Mr. Clavio, we should also take into consideration Mr. Clavio's situation. To be born ugly is the most unfortunate thing that could happen to a human being. It is only natural for Clavio to despise those who are born with good looks.

And speaking of "respect for women" I guess it is good to let all those who do not know about it that Mr. Clavio, in 1998, took advantage of the rape victim Sarah Balabagan, befriended her and got her pregnant. Clavio never provided for his child with Balabagan. Is that respect for women? Arnold Clavio = Sh*t

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