High-profile athletes are expected to be responsible for their own actions, but in the case of boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr., the collection of yes men that surround him is obviously doing more harm than good.
In the past few years, Mayweather has been involved in several brush ups with the media and the law, and the collection of friends and advisers that surround him may be aiding his poor behavior, not quelling it.
There have been examples that have surfaced just this month. Mayweather drew criticism for a recent Twitter post about Knicks basketball star Jeremy Lin that basically said that the point guard's popularity is mainly due to being Asian. Whether that comment is off-base or not is not the real problem. Mayweather refused to back off his comment whether it was offensive or not, and he didn't even write the posting.
Mayweather said he has people who write these comments for him, and is keeping them under wraps.
I can't tell you. It's a secret. But it's not me,'' Mayweather said to Tim Smith, of the New York Daily News. I've got more than one person who works on my Twitter page. But did I tell them what to tweet? Yes, I did. Do I regret what I said? Absolutely not. I stand by what I said and I meant what I said.
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In other words, Mayweather has people speaking on his behalf, and they do little to paint the boxer in a favorable light. They should be filtering his comments, but have chosen instead to do the opposite: they make his comments more inflammatory.
Then there's the never-ending saga with Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather, who appears to have made every effort to dodge Pacquiao for quite some time, now says the reason that the megabout won't take place is because of money, where as before it was about Pacquiao being on steroids.
Mayweather made clear that their chances of meeting in the ring hinge on money -- breaking down the shares in what could be boxing's richest fight ever.
He faces Floyd Mayweather, he's not getting 50-50. Not at all. No one is getting 50-50, said Mayweather.
Again, the business decisions of a boxer are usually the responsibility of the boxer's camp, and Mayweather's advisers are basically killing his legacy by preventing a Pacquiao fight. Most boxing fans have yearned for a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout for years, and now the reason for the hold up is a split in the purse.
When people look back on Mayweather's career, they may think of him as the guy who ducked Pacquiao, not a great boxer who took on all challengers.
Pacquiao's enormous fan base might make him a bigger draw than Mayweather, so a 50-50 split isn't exactly outrageous. Mayweather offered $30 million to Pacquiao, meaning Mayweather could potentially take upwards of $70 million from the bout.
Mayweather believes he is a bigger draw, and therefore deserving of more money, but his insistence of a much larger percentage of the profits of the fight reveal that this is a possible ploy to avoid fighting Pacquiao, who is a threat to Mayweather's undefeated record.
While Mayweather has had his dust ups with boxers and the media in the past, he has also had problems with the law. Mayweather is to begin a 90-day jail sentence on June 1 stemming from a domestic violence case.
After so many legal altercations, Mayweather's excuses and reasons apparently wore thin, and he finally received a stiff punishment. How Mayweather will fight Miguel Cotto on May 5, or how he will perform after his jail sentence, is anyone's guess. But it says something about the group that surround him that one man can have so many legal problems.
Mayweather's boxing career may be fading at age 35, but he can at least go out on a high note if he distances himself from the collection of characters. One of the yes men in Mayweather's entourage is Leonard Ellerbe, who has shown no interest in subduing Mayweather.
For those unfamiliar with Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, he was seen directly in the background of Mayweather during the boxer's post-fight interview with HBO's Larry Merchant following the contentious victory over Victor Ortiz in September. When Mayweather interrupted one of Merchant's questions and blurted out that Merchant would never give him a fair shake, Merchant immediately asked, What are you talking about? and Ellerbe stepped in for Mayweather and said, You heard him.
Mayweather barked that Merchant didn't know s*** about boxing. Some of Mayweather's team kept quiet and smiled while leading the boxer away from Merchant, but Mayweather got in one more, You're not going to do s***! to Merchant, and Ellerbe made sure to chime in with the exact same response to emphasize his meal ticket's feelings.
Ellerbe has paid the price for his role with Mayweather. He had his boxing license suspended for four months and received a $50,000 fine for his part in a melee during Mayweather's April 2006 bout with Zab Judah. Ellerbe frequently comes to Mayweather's defense no matter what, and apparently has done little or nothing to discipline him.
When UFC President Dana White lashed out at Mayweather for his perceived racist comments directed at Jeremy Lin, Ellerbe was quick to dish it right back at White.
He needs to shut the f*** up and mind his own business, stay in his own lane and keep on taking advantage of the UFC fighters, while underpaying them, said Ellerbe, of White. If he keeps on running his mouth, we may decide to give a free seminar to all of the UFC fighters on how the pay-per-view revenue should be distributed. This is typical Dana, who is always prone to ignorant outbursts. He should be the last person to try to judge someone else.
In other words, Ellerbe is perhaps more than just an adviser to Mayweather, but an avowed loyalist. He has been with Mayweather for several years, and when he makes an announcement for an upcoming fight, Mayweather probably told him directly to do so. Mayweather could use some guidance and tough love from the older people in his camp, and Ellerbe and others appear to not have interest in standing up to him.
While boxers have become savvy in promotion and publicity, Mayweather appears to have taken it too far. He needs someone to keep him in check, but there's nobody there to do it.
When Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, he basically took on the role as the bad guy. It was a ploy to make people tune in to the fight, and it may have worked. At the time, De La Hoya was a veteran boxer and still a Golden Boy and Mayweather apparently knew his role in the fight was to not upstage De La Hoya, so he obliged to be the boxer people loved to hate.
But since then, Mayweather appears to have become the role he was playing.
It is probably long overdue for Mayweather to clean house and have more reputable people around him.