Former tennis star and 1998 number one, Marcelo Ríos, offended the Chilean press on Wednesday by delivering harsh comments to a group of journalists covering the country’s tennis squad practise after they asked him about an upcoming match against Ecuador.
“As my personal friend Diego Armando (Maradona) says, go suck it you lot, because I don’t talk to reporters. Any questions? (…) keep sucking it”, Ríos said.
His anger towards the press might have been caused due to the leak of a series of WhatsApp audio files in which Ríos used strong language to talk to a member of the team whom, in his opinion, does everything to succeed but, sadly, “plays horribly”. Ríos blamed the press for that incident.
His broadside might imperil his Davis Cup part as an assistant captain to former tennis star and Greece 2004 double gold medalist, Nicolás Massú.
Ríos could be penalised by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) 2018 Davis Cup Regulations in which audible obscenity “in circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tie, or are singularly egregious, (…) shall also constitute the major offence of ‘aggravated behaviour’ and shall be subject to the additional penalties set forth in these regulations”, the document reads.
The National Association of Journalists publicly condemned his comments and described them as “unnecessary, unfortunate and pointless”. Besides, this Thursday, a formal complaint was sent by the Association to the ITF because of Ríos’ “inexcusable behaviour” and “serious offence”.
Ríos took to Twitter this Thursday to explain his reaction. However, he did not ask for forgiveness and stated that what bothers him are the lies journalists tell and the fact that they tend to victimise themselves.
“Maybe my words were out of place due to the context in which I am now (assisting the Chilean team), but what I think about them remains unchanged”, Ríos wrote.
— Marcelo Rios Mayorga (@MarceloRios75) 1 de febrero de 2018
Nevertheless, this is not Ríos’ first controversy. In 2000, he ran over his personal trainer, Manuel Astorga. That same year, he rejected the opportunity of being a flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games because his mother and sister could not get tickets to attend the event.
In 2001, Ríos was accused of, allegedly, beating two Italian police men, for which he had to pay a fine. In 2003, he shocked many when, during a drunken night out, he urinated on people who needed to use a restroom at a famous Santiago restaurant and, in 2007, he mooned a group of journalists during yet another drunken night out, among others.
Below you can watch, in Spanish, a video of the infamous moment:
Esta bien que sea especial el Chino Rios pero esto es una falta de respeto a los periodistas y a la gente. pic.twitter.com/DyaJDrsz2J
— Rodrigo Ried (@vaqueroried) January 31, 2018