UPDATE 3 Wednesday 1:45 ET: In fact, this video clip, at about the 2:55 mark, makes it sound like Roach uses the words “effing Jew emeffer,” which is a more heated version of what he recalled to Osuna.
So, there is much debate raging on social media about what slurs are OK to say, and what aren't. I think it's fair to say that referring to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” in polite conversation is not impolitic. But when you refer to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” during a heated verbal altercation, the context changes, and the intent of the deliverer can be construed differently, and the ability of the tag to hurt becomes potentially pronounced. Using the word “f—-t,” as Ariza seemed to, that word gets slung around carelessly, and often without the user understanding how that usually cutting description of a homosexual person can be interpreted by someone quite negatively, and rightly so. That word-said-aloud doesn't have much if any place in most or any vocabularies, I dare say, if one doesn't want to risk offending someone.
A couple other points to maybe be considered. Many get into a tizzy when a public figure uses a verboten or out to be more verboten word in a fit of pique. Conternation ensues, accusations are raised, self righteous outcries result. What if that same heated reaction were to be summoned at societal ills that go far beyond mere hurting with words? Instances of genocide and fomenting genocide like this occur daily and many if not most, including myself, usually turn a bling eye. And how many of us getting all self righteously bent out of shape use the odd slur every now and again. Let ye without sin…Hey, I'm not calling for anyone to be let off the hook, but maybe speaking to perspective here. I think we can at least add this point of view into the conversation, which, by the way, is a useful one to have. Thank the heavens for the Twitter and YouTube; how else are the masses going to be introduced to the semi-destructive power of language used flippantly?
UPDATE 2 Wednesday 12 noon ET: I hadn't heard anyone referring to anyone as a “Jew” or making any sort of remark that could be construed as anti-Semitic, as has been alleged, so I put it out to Twitter. Thanks to Twitter Follower “Marc” I was pointed to an interview of Freddie Roach, post-fracas, by ESPN's Bernard Osuna. Roach gives his account of the gym scrap, which he says started because Team Rios overstayed their time in the gym, and, in fact, cops to referring to videographer Elie Seckback, who has a website and is a virtually continuous presence in Brandon Rios' trainer Robert Garcia's CA gym by his faith, the Jewish faith.
“I said something about 'the Jewish kid' because that's all I know him as,” Roach explained, saying that Seckbach had previously been to his Wild Card Gym, and had talked about his faith. “I don't know your name, I just know you as 'the Jewish kid,' Roach said he told Seckbach, when recounting what he said after Seckbach called him out for being “racist.” In fact, this video clip, at about the 2:55 mark, makes it sound like Roach uses the words “effing Jew emeffer,” which is a more heated version of what he recalled to Osuna.
(And by the way, there is much debate raging on social media about what slurs are OK to say, and what aren't. I think it's fair to say that referring to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” in polite conversation is not impolitic. But when you refer to someone as a “Mexican” or “Jew” during a heated verbal altercation, the context changes, and the intent of the deliverer can be construed differently, and the ability of the tag to hurt becomes potentially pronounced. Using the word “f—-t,” as Ariza seemed to, that word gets slung around carelessly, and often without the user understanding how that cutting description of a homosexual person can be interpreted by someone quite negatively, and rightly so. That word-said-aloud doesn't have much if any place in most or any vocabularies, I dare say, if one doesn't want to risk offending someone.)
Roach became visibly emotional when telling Osuna that that he talked to his girlfriend after the fracas, and she was upset. “There's chaos, I don't need Manny coming into it,” he said. “But everything's fine, I can't wait to get this fight going, they're digging a hole, but that's OK.”
Roach was asked about pressing charges, and he said Top Rank's Brad Jacobs advised him that could endanger the fight, and he won't go that route, because that's not his style anyway. He said he was miffed because Ariza “suckered” him and he wished he could have retaliated, and it is best that Ariza “ran.” He didn't seem to care for Ariza making light of his Parkinson's symptoms but made light of it when telling Osuna that he suggested Rios make Parkinson's cracks instead, because he is more adept at it than Ariza is.
Also, check out this Boxing Channel video in which Roach and Pacquiao discusses the fracas. Roach in this video with Marcos Villegas said the fracas hasn't affacted Pacquiao and, in fact, they chuckled about it. Roach also said he thinks he will see a nasty Pacman, one who craves a KO. “Manny is as good as I've ever seen him,” the trainer said. Manny said he's handling all stresses well, including the fracas, and the typhoon, and advisor Michael Koncz' health scare.
Still, Roach isn't exiting this situation smelling all rosy. People are taking sides on this deal, and being quite vehement about it, too.
UPDATE 1 Late, Late Tuesday Night: Another version of the video, shot and posted by Elie Seckbach, is of better quality. Seckbach is a regular at Robert Garcia's gym and is seen by most as being a virtual member of Team Rios, basically. In this version, you can see Roach saying the gym is his, and Garcia standing his ground. Roach refers to Garcia as a “piece of s–t” and Garcia says he's not that, and holds his cool. “Throw me out, throw me out, make me leave,” yells Roach, as some of Garcia's crew hurks insults at him and tells him to scram. You can hear someone making animalistic noises, as if perhaps they are trying to make light of Roach's speech, compromised by his Parkinson's. Soon after, Ariza delivers a kick at Roach, and at least two people step between him and Roach. Then, Roach addresses Rios assistant trainer Donald Leary (seen above cocking his fist, face contorted in fury, in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) who is telling him to get out, and calls him, as I heard it, a “Mexican emeffer,” which Garcia and some others react to, declaring that Roach has made an ethnic slur. Ariza then uses a derogatory word beginning with the letter F in the direction of a Roach cohort, a version of a word which got Alec Baldwin in hot water while he was beefing with a paparazzo last week.
Garcia then says he's always respected Roach but not now. “Now, it's personal,” he yells at Roach, who is being hustled towards an exit. Then and chuckles Garcia smiles while Ariza continues to yell at Roach, challenges him to a fight, and mocks his speech. “Uh uh uh uh sp-sp-spit it out,” Ariza says.
In a post-beef assessment, in a SecondsOut YouTube, Ariza said Freddie's move was “juvenile,” and that he thinks Roach wanted to “kick something off.” He said he felt Roach was being aggressive toward him. “He was going to hit Robert,” Ariza said, and cocked his fist at him, and that's why he kicked him. He didn't regret the kick, he said.
It appears that Rios, bless him, never lost his step while on the elliptical glider. Smartest guy in the room…
The principals aren't supposed to face off till Sunday (Saturday in the US) Macao, but some undercard action got cooking today, when Manny Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach and ex right-hand man Alex Ariza got into a scuffle in the gym at the hotel, during changeover time.
Word is Roach entered the gym, and wanted Garcia and Rios and company to exit, as he believed their allotted time was up. Words were exchanged. Ariza, formerly Roach's go to guy while he was Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach, who was booted by Roach for overstepping his boundaries, yelled at Roach. Pacquiao and Rios are not in the frame at any point, for the record.
“Roach, get the eff out of here,” someone is heard to yell in this YouTube video off Rappler.com. “This isn't the Wild Card, b—h,” is also hurled at Roach. “You don't run this effin place,” Freddie is told. The then advanced toward Ariza, while insults are being hurled at him, and Ariza throws a front kick with his right leg at the 53-year-old Roach. A security guard attempts to intercede, and more jawing ensues. Ariza, with someone standing in front of him, blocking the route to Roach, is aggressive and seems to want to up the ante.
Robert Garcia is seen yapping, but basically doesn't move from his spot, sitting on the ring apron. One can hear a voice that seems to be Roach calling for Ariza to be arrested, for assaulting him. The audio is off track, so it is hard to decipher exactly who is saying what. A reference to someone using ethnic epithets is made, but again, it is unclear where that accusation comes from.
Follow Woods on Twitter.