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Pacquaio’s silence on aides’ boorish behavior deplorable

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Michel Koncz grabs photographer's shirt

By Ellen Tordesillas

Manny Pacquiao should be asked what he should do with his confidante and assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez and adviser Michael Koncz who assaulted photojournalist Al Bello who was taking a picture of Pacquiao unconscious after he was knocked out by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.

The deplorable incident was captured on camera by Chris Cozzone and can be viewed at http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/boxing/manny-pacquiao-aides-allegedly-attacked-photographer-brutal-knockout-005405170—box.html

A Yahoo news report by Kevin Lole showed a picture of Koncz grabbing Bello by his shirt while the burly Fernandez kicked him.

Another picture showed an enraged Fernandez going down through the ropes running after Bello.

It's understandable that it was very painful for them to see their god, Pacquiao, the source of everything that they have, in such a humiliating position. But that's the game they went into.

As Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, noted, "neither of these gentlemen, nor anyone else on Team Pacquiao, had any problems when the photographers were doing their jobs and shooting pictures of Ricky Hatton after Manny knocked Hatton out."

Bello, who said he was a fan of Pacquiao, said the incident was precipitated by the request of Pacquiao coach Freddie Roach for him not to shoot a picture of Pacquiapo unconscious on the floor, face down.

Bello is a professional photographer. His job is to capture every moment in any event he is covering. That was a most dramatic moment. And you request him to abandon his job?

Bello said,"Nobody likes doing that, but I was where I was credentialed to be and I was trying to do my job, which is to document the event."

It's a photographer's duty to the public."It's no different than the war photographers who have to shoot what is happening on a battlefield. Nobody wants to do that, but you have to document the history," Bello explained.

Bello said Koncz and Fernandez heard Roach's request and were angry that he didn't heed it. But in fairness to Roach, he coach never touched him and later apologized for asking him not to shoot photos." Bello said.

Koncz and Fernandez actions are manifestations of people who are used to being in an environment of fame, money and power. They think they can do anything.

It's good that National Union of Journalists of the Philippine issued a statement deploring Koncz and Fernandez's actions.

Nestor Burgos, NUJP chairperson, said "Koncz and Fernandez had absolutely no reason to attack him and their doing so was actually in the nature of a criminal act, just as Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach had no right to order Bello to stop taking photos, although Roach later apologized for doing so, according to the photographer."

"Such boorish action by the members of Team Pacquiao, no matter how distraught they were by his loss, is inexcusable," NUJP said.

NUJP said they appreciate that the Nevada Athletic Commission has promised to review the incident and we hope it takes appropriate action to discipline Koncz and Fernandez.

NUJP said, "But it should not stop there. Manny Pacquiao himself should take action against these two, whose boorish and unsportsmanlike reaction to the loss can only tarnish the reputation for sportsmanship that has endeared him to millions of fans.

"He can and should do no less."

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