That video of volleyball players who did not acknowledge the fans who greeted them while they were walking to a waiting vehicle went viral and drew backlash online.
Several media figures, including Kim Atienza, called out the player for the snub.
They said, in sum: “As public personalities, (yes athletes are also public figures), we have a choice to inspire and show gratitude to fans who passionately support us or we can choose to stay private and give them the cold shoulder.
“This team should be advised that catering to fans is a responsibility, otherwise, stay out of the public eye and play privately. What an irritating yet sad sight. I hope they are advised by their sponsors to act properly in public.”
However, the commercial team sponsor of the players, instead of apologizing, immediately went to the defense of their players.
The Choco Mucho team’s statement said in part: “Unfortunately, what is not included in the viral clip are other videos online showing the players acknowledging and talking to fans, and accommodating selfies and videos with them while trying to have their break.
“While we acknowledge that our team could have handled that particular encounter in the video better, we denounce malicious posts that put our players, our team, and our company in a bad light.
“Posting these innuendoes only brings negativity to our volleyball community and put the well-being of our athletes at risk.”
A simple glance or nod of acknowledgment, wave, or hello could have made a difference.
It may not be illegal to ignore the fans but as a public figure, it is morally wrong, to disregard or worse, play snub.
It’s called moral responsibility to fans. Then, the absence of an apology?
When mistakes are committed, a simple public apology would have been the choice, if only to show the team’s appreciation to sports fans. But there was none of it.
As they say, to apologize is the hardest thing to do. Bruce Lee, acknowledged as the greatest martial artist of all time, once said: “Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.”
Basketball icon Sonny Jaworksi was one of the most well-loved and admired players by basketball fans.
He was always the last one to leave the arena after every game, to accommodate requests from fans for photo ops and autographs.
He went to far-flung areas to accommodate requests from fans who were either hospitalized or celebrating birthdays.
No wonder, his Filipino fans voted him to become senator, becoming one of only a few former professional athletes to be elected into a high position in the government office.
Well, admittedly, these Gen-X sports celebrities are not Jaworski. And they will never be one.