What do I think of the John Apacible incident?
Before I answer that, let me say this.
I do not agree with how the Ateneo deals with various cases of students running afoul of the law or the university’s rules. I thought it was too tough and uncompromising. Sometimes, even unrealistic and unmindful that expelling students changes people’s lives for better or worse.
To name a few, we have seen Joseph Estrada kicked out because of fighting. Fighting! And he was defending a classmate from a bully.
We have seen students kicked out because they were activists.
There have been those who were expelled for a variety of reasons, academic and non-academic.
Clearly, we live in a different time. In an age where the school is adapting to the world that is rapidly changing around us. To the global village we live in to diversity and to social media of which caught up to John Apacible.
Whether he is a student-athlete or not, I think that whatever punishment the university hands down should fit the “crime" but tempered with mercy.
Did we bother to find out what provoked him into this rage? I am not exonerating John for his stupid and terrible mistake and his drinking which is in violation of team rules. Like many of these videos that purportedly show us incidents, we do not get the whole story.
Nevertheless, I do not believe that expelling him is the right thing. Suspend him for the remainder of the season, yes. But I do not think he should be removed. The shame alone from the news and social media is enough to give him pause about what he is doing with his life. To take him off the team permanently or even the school is like a triple whammy and could even totally alter his life.
Let him do community service. The time off the team should be sufficient. If there are other forms of restitution, so be it.
Having said that, the school should really take long and hard look at how it deals with erring students many of whom feel they got the raw end of the stick when it came to their cases.
It is a difficult incident that could be just as divisive. I guess, it is a time to pray for reflection and wisdom in dealing with it.