Boxing


Floyd Mayweather Parks in Handicapped Spaces

By John G. Thompson: Prior to writing this article I was neither a huge fan nor a big critic of the undefeated, pound-for-pound great and current World Boxing Council (WBC) Welterweight Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KO’s), but as of now I have reason to dislike the man. Sure, I am a boxing fan and admirer of his tremendous skills inside the ring. But this time outside the ring he has done something which really pisses me off. It may not be a heinous crime, but it is illegal and happens to be one of my top pet peeves. As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday, September 28th Mayweather was spotted parking his gull-wing Mercedes-Benz in two handicapped spots simultaneously outside of a Bank of America in Las Vegas. I say two spots, because rather than parking like a civilized human being, allegedly Mayweather pulled in at an angle, blocking access to both spots.

I worked in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles for a number of years as a sort of advocate for performers with disabilities and gained an appreciation and respect for the disabled community. Furthermore, my own mother requires handicapped parking. The simple act of going to the bank or the post office, which we take for granted, is that much more challenging for the disabled. When you are in a wheelchair and your van has a hydraulic lift, at times you absolutely need a handicapped space. For a highly trained athlete, a man who can run for miles, to take not one but two handicapped parking spots shows a serious disconnect with humanity.

Again, these are allegations made by supposed witnesses reported in a newspaper I’ve never heard of before, but if true, I have reason to route against Mayweather in his next fight. According to the article by Norm Clark, Mayweather had gone to the bank to deposit $200,000 which he carried in a satchel divided into packets of $100 bills. Why Mayweather was depositing or even carrying that much cash with him has not been explained, but hey, it’s Las Vegas and it’s Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

The article also states that two men, upon seeing Mayweather park badly, confronted him and exchanged some heated words. Personally, I wish Larry Merchant had been there to kick his a**, or at the very least call him out for his behavior. Also, this is not the first time Mayweather committed this infraction; an alleged picture of his car parked in a handicapped space circulated around the internet back in 2008.

I’m not singling Mayweather out because any specific animosity towards him, but I am singling him out because he is a celebrity. Celebrity status athletes have been in the news lately making big mistakes – like Michael Vick’s dog fighting or Kobe Bryant’s homophobic slur – and some good has come out of it. It’s brought public awareness to issues which need more public awareness. It’s not as if Mayweather has killed someone here, but it would be good to see him make amends. There is a campaign out there now to eliminate the use of the “R” word in relation to the disabled, and maybe that’s a campaign which could benefit from a high profile celebrity, at least in terms of media coverage. There’s also AbilityPath.org, a wonderful organization that works with families with disabled children. Mayweather could be doing a lot for humanity with his self-described fortune, and there are some rumors he does contribute to various charities, but publicly he flaunts his expensive cars, rolls of bills, and lives in a reported $12 million mansion not far from this parking violation.

In a recent episode of HBO’s “24/7” featuring the buildup to the Mayweather vs. Ortiz matchup Mayweather tried to do a good thing via video phone conference with some US Soldiers abroad. In thinking of something to do to cheer them up, Mayweather showed a complete lack of class in flaunting his money in front of our soldiers. These are men and women who make very little for their heroics, and currently have issues pertaining to their health care when they come home. But not only did he show a lack of class, he showed a distinct lack of touch with reality in thinking his wealth would somehow cheer up a group of young men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis. They must have been asking themselves, is this what we’re fighting for?

Floyd Mayweather wants to be remembered as an all-time great. But when you look at the all-time great boxers, men like Mohammed Ali, they are not just remembered for their skills, but also for their actions outside the ring. Mayweather is without question one of the best boxers of this generation, but until the thirty-four year old becomes a man, he will never win over the fan support he needs to earn that distinction. Just look at another boxer considered to be Mayweather’s contemporary rival, Manny Pacquiao. This is not a boxer who fights just for money; it is a man in search of a legacy, someone who not only makes appearance for various charities but also has his own (MannyPacquiaoFoundation.org), someone who donated a substantial percentage of his earnings to Filipinos left homeless after a major typhoon a few years ago, a role model for millions, and did I mention he’s also a Filipino congressman. Would you vote for Floyd Mayweather for office? If the two ever meet in the ring, my money may be on Mayweather, but when it comes down to who will be best remembered, at least for now it’s Pacquiao by a knockout.

So Floyd, please be a man, pick up a phone and call one of these organizations to make amends. There is a lot of good to be done and you have the resources to do it. If you’re interested you can email me. The first thing I’ll do is apologize and then put you in touch with people who can help.

Sincerely,

boxingwriterjohn@gmail.com

Article posted on 08.10.2011



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