If You Mocked Floyd Mayweather’s ‘Illiteracy,’ You’re Probably A Bigger Asshole Than You Think He Is

08/27/2014
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Last week, a New York City DJ named “Charlamagne Tha God” aired a recording of boxer Floyd Mayweather really, really struggling to read a passage of rudimentary English.

I suppose that name is a play off of Charlemagne, King of the Franks. But who knows? Misspellings are tricky to figure out sometimes. But that’s neither here nor there.

What’s here and there is this: The clip meshed pretty damn well with rapper 50 Cent’s Instagram-delivered challenge to read a page of a Harry Potter book.

I suppose his name is a play off of 50 cents. But who knows? The whole singular vs. plural thing is tricky to figure out sometimes. But that’s neither here nor there.

What’s also here and there is this: People mocked Floyd a bunch about it. Best I could tell, two primary contingents of critics emerged.

The first was just general “LOL the Champ can’t read” clowning.

The second was a slew of white-knight heroes, emboldened by having just caught up with stories which have been out there for years, who took the “Floyd’s a misogynistic woman beater, so fuck that guy; he’s so dumb he can’t read; I’d feel bad if he wasn’t a misogynist” tact.

Taken as a whole, the reaction prompted promoter Kelly Swanson to email media members who’ve covered Floyd/fights in the past with a video (and an invitation to watch it) and a message. It read, in part …

I have worked with Floyd Mayweather since 2005 and feel it is only right that I come to his defense.

The unfair reports that Floyd cannot read, which have been posted on social media by various individuals and reported by certain media outlets, are simply not true. The proof is in the pudding. …

I believe it is extremely unfair for people to make claims against others that are unfounded and hence, filled with malice.

It’s natural, that response.

But, my beef is different.

Listen, I’ve been a fan of Floyd’s boxing for nearly a decade. I’ve seen him fight twice — in Atlantic City in 2005 and in Las Vegas just this year.

Even though everything he stands for — the money, the bravado — runs counter to what I consider life’s most important things, I respected his confidence.

A fighter without it is roadkill.

The respect I have for him decreased markedly with those domestic-violence travesties, as well. They put him on par with vermin. But still, he’s a brand of vermin that I like to watch get violent in a boxing ring.

So why was I patently offended by the second brand of Floyd clowning?

Because by making fun of his “illiteracy,” critics also damaged the self-esteem of illiterate people everywhere.

Say you’re a 24-year-old woman or man who can’t read. Uneducated. Grasping at straws to provide for yourself and others. Tenuous grip on confidence.

How are you going to feel if you hear someone mocking the problem that plagues your every moment, and leaves you desperately clinging to hope that things will get better?

Not good about yourself at all. Maybe it takes away your will to learn.

I look at it this way:

If Osama bin Laden had cancer and chemo rendered him drawn-out and wearing something over his head to mask his baldness, would you mock the cancer? As in, “I’d feel bad for him if he wasn’t a terrorist, so cancer is a hero.”

If Justin Bieber went to a shrink to help with battles with depression, would you mock the depression he suffered? As in, “bahahahaha, depression is awesome for targeting that Canadian douche.”

If Kim Kardashian had a sex and/or gambling addition, would you mock the addictions? As in, “If there’s a God, she will not be able to battle these demons; hope she gambles every penny away.”

A respectable person would answer “no, I hate him for the fact that he waged war against Americans, but cancer is horrible,” “no, I hate him because he’s a smarmy douchebag of little to no talent, but depression is horrible” and “no, I’d mock her for building a career out of fucking a guy on camera, but addiction is horrible.”

An asshole would say yes because they don’t give a shit about everyday Americans who battle cancer, depression and addiction.

And an asshole would also focus their mockery of Floyd Mayweather on that tape because it’s easier to take any cheap shot at someone than think about the widespread ramifications of what they’re actually mocking.

If you want to (as you should) condemn someone famous (or non-) for being a violent misogynist, that’s your right (nay, obligation).

But when you nitpick one thing out, and that thing happens to make life difficult for millions of other people, you’re no better than the cocky asshole you’ve judged.

And you know what, you owe anyone struggling with literacy an apology.

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