WBC president Jose Sulaiman should be working on his New Year resolution to think before he speaks, and generally, try to act less like a ninny, and cast the sport of boxing in a bad light.
You’ll recall Sulaiman inserted both feet in mouth on Dec. 27, when he told writer Ronnie Nathanielsz of Boxing Scene that “beating a lady is highly critical, [but] it is not a major sin or crime.”
He was speaking in the context of Floyd Mayweather, currently the WBC welterweight champion who just happens to gross obscene amounts of money when he fights, some of which trickles down to the WBC in sanctioning fees and publicity. Basically, Sulaiman was sucking up to Mayweather, most pundits felt, and trying to stay in his good graces during Floyd’s difficult period, as he awaited his trip to jail for 90 days on a domestic battery charge.
Mayweather’s jail stint was moved from Jan. 6 to June 1, because on Friday the justice presiding over his case allowed his request for the incarceration period to be postponed. Mayweather is due to fight May 5, so the justice gave him wiggle room, so as not to punish him further, by removing a significant economic windfall.
A few days after Sulaiman stepped in that pile of excrement and inserted both his feet in mouth, he issues a “clarification.”
“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.
He basically blamed his imperfect grasp of English for the insensitive remark, but never properly explained how he garbled the original statements, what he meant to say instead.
Basically, no one bought the “clarification.” WBC middleweight champion emeritus Sergio Martinez hammered Sulaiman publicly for his gross remarks, no surprise since Martinez is heavily involved in the cause of preventing violence against women. Yahoo's Kevin Iole, the respect fightwriter, called for Sulaiman to be booted.
Some called for his dismissal from the organization he’s headed since 1975, feeling that perhaps it was time for the 80 year-old to step aside, let a more progressive person have a go. He has resisted the call.
Jill Diamond does some work for the WBC. She acts as an official on their behalf during some title fights, and does pro-bono work in the philanthropy realm, spreading the word about the positive aspects of the sport, while helping raise significant funds for various youth organizations as the chair of World Boxing Cares. As I was tinkering in my GMail account, I noticed that her email address is janedoe@Neverhitalady.com. I was a bit floored. So I emailed her, and asked her take on the Sulaiman remarks fiasco. Here is her response.
No one who knows Jose would believe for an instant he was supporting or diminishing the effects of domestic abuse, or cruelty of any kind. There are many heinous crimes, in some countries, that are not considered "sins" or "Illegal" and I believe that's what he meant. He is behind the anti bullying campaign that just put Monique McClain back into school, he ran to Christy Martin's side when she was a victim, and he is one of the most respectful people I know, when it comes to women's rights. Why take the words of an 80 year old man, from a different culture, who speaks a different language, out of context? He has no history to support the criticism. I think what he was saying was that he would stand by Floyd, despite (not because), and not abandon him, or any other boxer. As for my email address -- I believe no one, outside the ring, should hit any living thing unless in self defense. So it says.. Never hit a lady -- unless you want to be hit back! I hope this explains my view point.
So..for the record. I still do not buy Sulaiman's "clarification" and think this misstep will remain part of his legacy. But there are folks who think otherwise. For the record.