|A Puerto Rican??"To Be or Not To Be?"
Gabrielle Paeses continuing accounts in her Herald "Puerto Rico Sports Beat" column (Vol. 6 Nos. 7, 8 & 9) of the "ten-rounder" between Félix Trinidad Sr. and the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission raises the interesting question who decides if you are, or are not, a Puerto Rican. The answer seems to be in sports at least that you are what the governing commission that controls your sport decides you are.
When the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission chose John Ruiz as Puerto Ricos "Boxer of the Year" in February, it did not matter that the heavyweight champion was born in Boston and, except for a brief time as a child, never resided on the island and still does not. The Trinidad vs. Ruiz slug fest was "duked-out" not in the ring but rather in a court of law and in a mass media imbroglio. The dust has now settled and Ruiz is the Commissions official choice for Puerto Ricos top pugilist, even though he has no domicile on the island and would not qualify to vote in a local election.
Concurrent with the boxing saga on the island, another Puerto Rican residency tussle was played out in the snows of Utah, where the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee yanked Mike Gonzalez and his bobsled team from International Olympic competition because he could not meet their very selective qualifications for Puerto Rico "citizenship." No matter that he met the International Olympic Committees residency requirements; no matter that, as a U.S. citizen, he could have qualified to represent the United States in the competition; and no matter that he had represented Puerto Rico in the previous Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. One wonders if the Committee would have been quite so meticulous in applying the Puerto Rico litmus test if his bobsled had the remotest chance to have been in medal contention.
You should have been a boxer, Mike! Either that, or get a better bobsled.