Leonard Ellerbe is Floyd Mayweather's right hand man, the person who most speaks for him, and on his behalf, in public. I asked the advisor if he thinks the media treat his man Mayweather fairly, especially in comparison to Manny Pacquiao.
"Floyd has a target on his back," Ellerbe said. "Manny Pacquiao is a human being like the next person. He has done a whole lot of things the public is not aware of. But it is not our business. We could care less. But there's a double standard, damn right. If Floyd's name were attached to (some of the same) allegations, it'd be times ten. In the media there is a double standard."
Is that because so many of us, the writers, are Caucasian, I asked.
"I'm not going to put it on a race issue," he said. "I put it on a double standard. I'm not going into the race issue."
Ellerbe acknowledged, as I'm sure many of the readers have been thinking as they've read this mini-series of blog posts, that some of it comes with the territory. However, "the territory" is not defined the same by Ellerbe and the anti-Floyd crowd. To Ellerbe, many of the slings and arrows aimed at Floyd are launched because of jealousy, because "haters" can't stand the fact that he is the best of breed in the sport, one of the highest earning athletes in the world. (In 2010, according to Forbes, he made $65 million, second among athletes only to Tiger Woods ($105 million), and that was mainly off one fight, vs Shane Mosley. In 2011, fighting once, against Victor Ortiz, Floyd didn't make the Forbes cut of the Top 50 earners in sports while rival Pacquiao was No. 24 with $25 million) Michael Eric Dyson during Saturday's HBO presentation of "Floyd Mayweather: Speaking Out," touched on the subject, offering the theory that his excellence, combined with his wealth, his race and of course his "outspokenness," leaves Floyd open to envy-fueled rants. Those not caring for Floyd's manner, or accepting the Dyson or Ellerbe theses, tend to point to other reasons for the "hating" on Floyd.
These days, they bring up his altercation with his ex, which earned him a forthcoming jail term, and cite that as reason enough to assess the fighter in a harsh manner. Just three days ago, a man described as an "associate" of the boxer, Ocie Harris, was sentenced to 18 years or less in prison for shooting at two men in a car in Las Vegas in 2009, after one of the men argued with Floyd outside an inline-skating rink in Vegas. Those arguing that Floyd reaps what he sows, and that the media plays it right down the middle cite comments which they believe prove Mayweather is a racist; during a Ustream rant in Sept. 2010 he said he'd make Pacquiao, a Filipino, "make some sushi rolls and cook some rice" and that "we're going to cook him with some cats and dogs" and also publicly called him, and almost a year later his own dad, a "f----t."
Ellerbe told me that Floyd doesn't get bogged down on the "haters."
"Floyd knows how to handle and deal with all the above," he said. "He excels when there's a dark cloud around him. He uses it as motivation. It doesn't affect Floyd what others are saying, not the least bit. He could care less. His object is to go out and please himself first, then fans. All the naysayers and critics he could care less."
I wrote about Mayweather's statements on the first 24/7, when he poked at PETA. Ellerbe says that the media here is inclined to play up Floyd "missteps" than Pacquiao's. Let me get out ahead of the anti-Floyd crew, who will likely point out that cockfighting is legal in the Philippines, while dogfighting is illegal in the United States.
"Manny's had cockfights he attended, so what? I see nothing written about him running a cockfighting operation. What was his level of involvement? I'd be willing to bet he probably orchestrated or financed whatever they had going on. Floyd said whatever he said, that's 24/7. Critics are people that aren't happy with themselves. They don't walk in Floyd's shoes, don't have a clue the things he goes through on a daily basis, what it takes to be on top. All they can do is sit around and speculate. It goes in one ear and out the other."
I'm postulating here, but I tend to believe that it doesn't totally go in one ear and out the other. I believe Mayweather has a sensitive side, which he admittedly hides pretty well, and he covers up with his bragging and affiliation with 50 Cent and guys like Harris, and such.
So, if indeed there is a double standard, and Mayweather gets extra scorn from the media, for whatever reason, then I think it serves him well. One, he is the most successful "heel" in all of sports. More people tune in to see him lose than win, and his earnings reflect just how many haters are willing to pay for the privilege of maybe seeing him maybe get his mouth shut. When I focus on his PETA spat, or the Ustream rant, or the Jeremy Lin Tweet, or the upcoming jail term, I am putting money in his pocket. And two, if his energy ever lags, I think he taps into the "hater's" critiques, and that gets him through another late night ultra-grueling workout.
Readers, as always I am most eager to hear your take. Feel free to follow me on Twitter. Weigh in!