Of headlocks and taunts

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


PARENTSS, or okay some parents, of the football players of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) have issued a statement last March 20 regarding the brawl that broke out during the match between SHS-AdC and Alcoy Football Club (Alcoy FC).

They defended Enrico Mongaya, the parent who was shown in photos shot by Sun.Star Cebu lensman Allan Cuizon as hitting in the head Alcoy FC goalkeeper Rodenel Binolirao while the latter was pinning down SHS-AdC player Jose Mari Kwan. Binolirao and Kwan are both under 18 years of age.

“We parents of SHS-AdC thank Mongaya for his selfless action. In our eyes, he saved JM Kwan,” the parents said.

I have read about this interpretation of that scuffle on Facebook, spread by posters who obviously are taking one side of the issue. One of them, who I have unfollowed, posted several threads demonizing Binolirao to justify his being attacked.

The line pushed is that Binolirao was big, Kwan was small and the former was applying a headlock on the latter. Posted were quotes about how deadly a headlock is, citing Mixed Martial Arts-type headlock. So Kwan was choking when Mongaya rushed in. Ergo, he saved Kwan.

But first the headlock. A headlock, according to Merriam-Webster, is putting your arm around the person’s head. The definition did not add, “to choke a person to death.”

That’s because a headlock per se is not what is dangerous. The intent to kill is. By the same token, the effect would be different if the intent is only to immobilize a
person.

The photos are not clear if Binolirao applied full headlock or what his intention was.

Kwan could be struggling or hitting back that’s why Binolirao pinned him down. But let us just say Mongaya did think that Binolirao was intending to choke Kwan to death. So he had to intervene.

But the photos do not show that Mongaya was breaking up the headlock. Instead, he was shown approaching Binolirao from behind and hitting him in the back of his head.

Pained, Binolirao could have vented his anger on Kwan, complicating matters. That was no way to end a scuffle.

The photos also showed another man rushing into the scene. He was later identified as Richie Arias. He went directly between Binolirao and Kwan even as Mongaya glared at him. He proceeded to break the scuffle. In fact, he succeeded in pulling Binolirao and Kwan apart.

I don’t know why Kwan’s parents did not thank Arias, who is reportedly a supporter of Alcoy FC. Between Mongaya and Arias, it is a no-brainer who intervened in the scuffle with the correct mindset and intention. Yet it seems like nobody saw him.

Meanwhile, there seems to be an intention to downplay the taunting of “taga-bukid” supposedly from the SHS-AdC side directed at the Alcoy FC side. A lawyer argued that raising it is like pitting the rich against the poor. What a poor logic.

The Cebu Football Association (CFA) should have looked into that claim and checked its veracity. Because if that taunt was hurled, then the next step would have been to lay the rules that would guide the behavior both of spectators and the players. “Taga-bukid” if used in a taunt is actually meant to insult, which is wrong.

If limits are laid down, then a repeat of that brawl involving other teams would be prevented. This is important because the CFA is encouraging the spread of football to the towns. We do not want a team from, say, Argao, being called “taga-bukid” so its players would lose their focus every time they play. That would be demoralizing.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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