In 2011, Floyd Mayweather served 90 days in prison after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery, and pled no contest to charges of misdemeanor harassment. According to his ex-girlfriend’s account, Mayweather dragged her out of bed and began beating her, then threatened the children against calling the police.
That same year, Manny Pacquiao, who had been elected to the Philippine congress, publicly spoke out against an effort to increase funding for contraceptive services. In his legislative career, Pacquiao also spoke out against abortion and same-sex marriage.
A sports editor at the Huffington Post thinks this means boxing fans should have rooted against both of them:
So on Saturday night, the boxing world will be forced to choose between one man with a track record of domestic violence, and another who voted to prevent poor women from gaining access to birth control. Either way, you’ll be rooting for a man with a questionable track record when it comes to women’s issues. There’s no right choice.
The editor, Lucy McCalmont, does recognize that Mayweather’s actions were “disgusting” and “inexcusable,” but spends most of the article chronicling the legislative history of Pacquiao after asking this question:“But if we’re going to question whether someone can dislike Mayweather because of his treatment of women, should we not also do the same of Pacquiao and his politics?”
Beating Women Versus Public Speaking
It is important to note that the event mentioned above is not the only time Mayweather has been accused of domestic violence. In 2002, he received a suspended sentence for two counts of domestic violence and one count of battery. In 2004, he received a suspended sentence for two counts of misdemeanor battery. In 2005, Mayweather pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor battery for an incident with a bouncer. Go back and re-read the two quotes from McCalmont’s article and the way she cavalierly describes Mayweather’s history as mere “treatment of women.”
This is more than just poor wording. This is a reporter minimizing the actions of a man with a history of beating women to score points against a conservative politician from another country who is guilty of nothing more than being a conservative politician.
Given the state of our media, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it wasn’t just McCalmont asking these questions. Tony Paul, a sportswriter for The Detroit News, tweeted this on the day of the fight:
Manny Pacquiao hates gays. Floyd Mayweather beats women. I’m rooting for Bobby Heenan interfering with a folding chair for the double-DQ.
— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) May 2, 2015
Consider: the only way this could be considered even remotely fair is if Pacquiao has a history of beating people who are gay. Needless to say, he does not. The reporter later said he was “pulling for Pacquiao,” but that does little to mitigate the earlier ugliness.
Pacquiao communicated his disagreement on the issue of gay marriage with words. Mayweather used his fists to inflict pain on others. Actions are actions and opinions expressed with words are just words. Ideas, no matter what they are or how they are communicated, are not violence. Striking other human beings with your fists? That is violence. Any people who attempt to put Pacquiao and Mayweather on the same moral plane have already revealed who they are, and what they value. When you think about it, it’s not pretty.
Message: Being Conservative Equals Being Evil
The greatest compliment one can give either of these writers is to hope they didn’t really mean what they wrote, and that cynicism and snark was their goal, but that is likely a false hope. In their writings, McCalmont and Paul are drawing from the same well of ideas that’s given us “microaggressions” and “safe spaces” from speech. This was just another shot in the greater culture war and the Left’s ongoing attempt to make conservatism synonymous with “strange,” or in the case of microagression culture, maybe even threatening or dangerous.
In this instance, those two writers want you to believe that a man who opposed their ideology is just as bad as a man beating his ex-girlfriend in front of kids. It’s ridiculous, but in doing so they managed to equate conservative opinions with an abhorrent act, which has always been the goal of this rhetorical trick.
It’s not a new tactic. Over the years, Hollywood and the news media have used their power and reach to portray conservatives in a negative light. Examples include the character of Sen. Bob Runson in “The American President” (great movie, despite the politics), or the news media’s characterization of the Tea Party protests as hotbeds of racism, guns, and general crazy.
In recent years, another goal has been added: shutting speech down entirely by claiming to feel threatened or triggered by the speaker. Ace, of the Ace of Spades HQ blog, summarizes it well here:
If you don’t know how the game is played, the new magic word is ‘unsafe,’ because if you claim someone is making you feel ‘unsafe,’ that sets in motion Title IX protections. That is, if you want to censor someone, just claim not that you disagree with them or find them disgusting, but that they make you feel ‘unsafe.’
Every Game Is War
At present, this madness is confined to university campuses, where administrations possess a great deal of control over the actions of the students enrolled in their institutions. This may not always be the case, which is why posts at a generally liberal website or tweets by random sportswriters about a boxing match should not be taken lightly or simply mocked and forgotten.
They are reminders that those on the Left continue to seek new battlegrounds on which to fight as they advance in the culture war and they will continue to do so. You may not be interested in any particular front of that war: Gamergate, the Hugo Awards, gay marriage, or college speech codes, to name a few. Your disinterest is to their advantage, and your apathy is their call to arms.
The criticism of Pacquiao is not about boxing. As always, in this age of the politicized life, it’s about ideology. Mayweather has pleaded guilty to actual crimes, but in the eyes of his accusers, Pacquiao’s thoughtcrimes make him an equal villain.
This is the new normal. This is the fresh battleground in the Left’s unceasing aggression in the culture war. Push back.