An open letter to PBA about Arwind Santos’ recent racial antics

Dear PBA (and Arwind),

NLEX is set to play Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel in Dubai this October. The upcoming pair of games in the spanking new Coca-cola Arena promises to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, basketball show ever to be played in the region.

You are inviting the Filipino community to come in droves not only to cheer for their favorite teams and players but also to show this part of the world the brand of basketball we have and how the sport runs deep in our blood.

I just want to remind you that many Filipinos overseas are still enduring many forms of discrimination, and the recent racial antics of Arwind Santos, and his unapologetic tirade, just add a bad taste to the already bitter pill.

Racism is a never-ending topic of interest in cosmopolitan cities like Dubai.

Several Filipino communities overseas are standing up in strength for our kababayans who experience discrimination because of the color of our skin. These advocate groups actually embody your slogan, “Laban kung laban.”

The least we expect from a PBA spectacle in Dubai is to fan the flames even more.

Sports is a mirror of life. We learn strategies through basketball. Kids pick up a lot of values from their favorite players.

While many of us are expecting heavier consequences from the league, I respect the penalties meted on him - Php 200,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and seminars and counseling on equality and racial discrimination.

Taunting may not appear as serious as punching a player. But physical assault, emotional assault, and mental assault are all, well, ASSAULTS.

Between today and your October games in Dubai, I am hoping you don’t miss on the opportunity to educate your audience that such racism has no place in sports, much more in our lives. I hope you'd keep us updated about Arwind's progress on those seminars and counseling and community service.

To Arwind, what you’ve done is bigger than basketball. You have a very good monicker, Spiderman - “With great power comes great responsibility.” No matter how high the stakes are, choose to be a champion of that responsibility than a champ for stupidity. 

To the public, let's forgive Arwind. Move on. We all have been immature at some point in our lives too.


Arwind does the Spiderman dunk | Photo by ABS CBN (Richard Esguerra)


Top photo by Brandon Nickerson from Pexels

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