Villaflor: Will an apology lead to closure?

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


IN an ideal world, Enrico Mongaya by now would have offered a public apology—to the Alcoy FC goalkeeper, a minor, who suffered a bloodied skull from blows, and to the football community, whose efforts to promote the beautiful game has suffered a setback because of this disturbing incident.

In the same manner, all those involved in the brawl between Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu and Alcoy FC in their Under-18 Aboitiz Cup game last Sunday would have followed Mongaya’s lead, apologizing to those whom they’ve hurt physically or verbally.

In an ideal world, the hatchet would have been buried by now.

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But this world is far from ideal.

Instead, it is one where ideals give way to utilitarian laws and legal processes, ones that Mongaya and his lawyer need to be concerned with. So, instead of an outright apology, Mongaya offers “reconciliation” in a statement he released, probably in the hopes the case doesn’t go to court.

Nothing wrong there except that one can’t help but wonder: shouldn’t an apology come before any real reconciliation can take place?

Mongaya’s camp must understand that he didn’t hurt just the boy; he gave the sport a black eye so big it’s visible from the other side of the globe.

The public’s reaction has ranged from pure indignation to ridicule. While stakeholders and observers from here and abroad have condemned the incident, netizens with a wicked sense of humor have turned images of the brawl into Photoshopped memes.

Mongaya can’t do anything about the memes, but giving an apology—one that’s straight from the heart and stripped of the legalese—might prove meaningful in finding closure to this incident that Cebu Football Association (CFA) president Ricky Dakay calls “disappointing, unfortunate and regrettable.”

Last Wednesday when the CFA released sanctions on the two teams and coaches involved, Dakay expressed hope for the “healing process” to start, even as investigations on some spectators continue.

“For forgiveness to happen, those who erred should apologize,” Dakay said. “And they should make up for what they did in acts of kindness and also in correcting their defects in character,” which is even more important.”

Let us hope that Mongaya and the other spectators, coaches and players concerned still possess the ideals to correct the error of their ways.

In an ideal world, though, Dakay would have gotten his wish by now.

(nsvillaflor@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2014.

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