By: Sean Crose
“What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
These words, from the Grateful Dead’s “Truckin'” are becoming more and more appropriate, as former WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder makes more and more wild accusations in the wake of his defeat last winter to Tyson Fury. Wilder’s latest will certainly be making waves throughout the world of boxing. Speaking with Brian Custer, Wilder stated the following regarding Tyson Fury, and the Gypsy demographic Fury is a part of:
“He’s a known cheater. So, if you’re known to be a known cheater, why are you going to stop now? You, know, the Gypsies believe if they have an opportunity to cheat and they don’t cheat, they consider you to be a sucker.”
Wilder’s statements are in line with a stereotype of Gypsy’s being fundamentally dishonest. As a minority group, the Gypsy’s have suffered from extreme discrimination. Wilder has also claimed that Fury fought him with loaded gloves in their second fight and has stated a belief that his own trainer, Mark Breland, was in on a plan to taint his water. In an age of social media, Wilder’s accusations are earning him a reputation of being out of control.
Frankly, it’s a reputation the man is doing a good job of giving himself. Of course, it’s good to keep in mind that boxers are not expected to be excessively polished people. They’re fighters, after all, not lawyers. And, sure enough, oftentimes it’s refreshing to hear a fighter speak his or her mind without the sometimes stifling filter of contemporary nuance. Still, it’s impossible to excuse Wilder’s recent statements. His words regarding Gypsies were perhaps off the cuff. Perhaps Wilder himself doesn’t really even believe what he said. But his words takes on a dark weight when one looks at how Gypsies have been treated. It’s said some think the term Gypsy itself is derogatory – though, let’s be honest, Fury certainly doesn’t believe so.
The reality is that Wilder needs some level heads to step up and talk to him. No one wants the man to be militantly PC, save for perhaps a few scolds. Yet refraining from smears and baseless accusations isn’t an act political correctness. It’s just common decency. And everyone is obligated to be decent, even if they’ve suffered a brutal loss in the ring. Hopefully, Wilder will spend less time spouting nonsense and more time fighting in the future. He needs to move on.