A clip of Ricci Rivero verbally snapping at a woman who wanted a photo with him in the dugout is making the rounds online.
According to a SPIN.ph report, the heated encounter happened following the Gilas cadets' April 27 loss to the De La Salle Green Archers in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup—Rivero's first game against his former UAAP team since leaving the university. Tonight, he posted his explanation and apology on Twitter.
While some netizens understood his actions, others were quick to blow the whistle on him for being rude to the fan off the court, calling it the incident where Rivero "showed his true colors." They also mocked the irony of him suddenly turning to the crucifix when he realized that he was being filmed. Well, it's safe to say that a good portion of the online community was quick to crucify him.
But is Rivero really the one at fault here?
First, let's look at the circumstances. Based on his body language upon exiting the court, he was already frustrated before the fan approached him. And why wouldn't he be? The match had obvious implications, and he wasn't able to get the win.
Next, this is Ricci Rivero we're talking about. The 20-year-old once broke into tears after getting into early foul trouble in a crucial meeting against their archrivals. This guy was seen bawling like a baby after they failed to defend the championship. If there was a player most likely to snap post-loss, Rivero would be that player.
If you think about it, the dugout represents the line drawn between the likes of Rivero and zealous followers. That fan should have respected his space. Despite their high-flying acrobatics and larger-than-life personalities, athletes have a right to some privacy, especially during emotional moments.
Not too long ago, volleybelle Denden Lazaro was embroiled in a similar predicament, when she warded off a male admirer who tried to pull off a sneaky akbay during a photo op. She wrote online: "There are certain situations that make a person feel uncomfortable like when random people invade someone's private space. And to me, personal space is something I highly value."
How many more athletes need to snap before fans learn to respect boundaries?