Let athletes be athletes
There is a new toast of the town. Her name is Hidilyn Diaz, the weightlifter who bagged for the country its first gold medal in the Olympics. What makes her special is that she acknowledged the ordeal she had to go through in order to attain what she achieved and makes no excuses about her claim to glory. She shares her success to all who would care to be proud of being a Filipino. The material reward given to her is well deserved.
What is disturbing is the manner by which she is being dragged into the political quagmire. Many are now attesting that she is a good material for senator. My God, forgive them for they know not what they are talking about.
For sure, Diaz deserves all the attention and accolades she is receiving. There is no doubt she is a national treasure in the same manner Manny Pacquiao is. The statue of her the City of Zamboanga is planning to erect in front of its City Hall to immortalize her feat should be a welcome sight. All these do not make her a politician. These do not suddenly transform her into becoming an expert on matters involving politics.
Immediately after her arrival, the first question that was asked was how she felt about her victory. Fair enough question. However, the subsequent question that was asked was about her take on the West Philippine Sea. She had to answer. What did she say? “Ang atin ay dapat atin.” What is ours is ours. Her answer is good enough to criticize the Duterte administration that it is not doing enough to assert our right over the West Philippine Sea. Is Hidilyn to blame?
The “Ang atin ay dapat atin” comment is a mere rhetoric from a celebrity that was called for by the prevailing circumstance.
Now, it is being politicized and is being used as a campaign slogan. Diaz has more pressing concerns in her mind than meddling in foreign policy matters. Besides, she is not even qualified to utter remarks of such import on issues that she is not fully aware of.
In the first place, she should not have been asked that question. Whoever thought of firing her that question is a fool. Diaz is a sports icon, not a political personality and she knows that.
Yet, as a Filipino, what was she supposed to say? She had to speak her mind out. That her answer is being interpreted wrongly is comical. Good thing, Duterte was not as ill-mannered when he met her. He simply advised her to “let bygones be bygones.”
When Diaz’s name was dragged into the so-called matrix against the President, she felt alluded to and it severely affected her training. This is no way to treat a hero. Good thing she had a disciplined mind and a good regimen to ward off the insinuations labeled against her.
It is about time people welcoming our returning athletes should know the limit of their questions. If it is sports, they want to know, they should confine their queries on sports. Let sports figures be sports figures and let politicians be politicians.
To confuse the two is to blur the distinction between heroes and villains.
To interchange the two is to confound the truth that not anybody can be an athlete but anybody can be a politician.