Tremors, muscle rigidity, insomnia, and even dementia. These are all a few of the many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which is a disorder of the motor system that only gets worse over time. Freddie Roach, a very famous boxer and honoree of Beit T’Shuvah’s first annual Knock Out Addiction boxing match, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1992—depressing news, yes, but did the best he could with the skills he possesses and became a coach. A few weeks ago, Antonio Margarito, who’s boxing one of Roach’s fighters, Manny Pacquiao, made fun of Roache’s disease on camera. He extended his arms and pretended to have a tremor, clearly showing his contempt for the man.
I find this sort of behavior completely despicable. To me, there is nothing that is worse in the world than seeing somebody else make fun of somebody else’s genetic dispositions. I went to a high school that had a magnet program for kids with all different types of mental disorders and heavy learning disabilities, and I was fortunate enough to gain a lot of tolerance towards others who are physically and emotionally different from myself. The unfortunate part is that most of the world is not as lucky. Attitudes like these are what enables so much hate and prejudice in the world. When I asked our own Rabbi Mark Borovitz what he felt about Margarito’s video, he replied that it is completely evil to take public advantage of another’s vulnerabilities. Not only that, but attitudes like these can add a lot of negativity to our already volatile world. Is a man with Parkinson’s really so different from the rest of us? Not only is this a below the belt blow from Margarito, but what is he really saying? Perhaps he is projecting his own feelings—his fear of insecurities or of failures. And it turned out that Margarito’s spiritual bank account was below zero; Pacquiao won the fight.
- Boxing Diary: Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito (blogs.wsj.com)
- VIDEO: Antonio Margarito Mocks Manny Pacquiao’s Trainer Freddie Roach (sbnation.com)