Knipfing’s Notes: The Real ‘Champ’

May 4th, 2013 at 9:00 am by under Latest Posts

And, the winner is …. We don’t know his name but he’s the real champ.

“He” is the 17-year-old Rio Grande High School wrestling team member who was confronted by his much larger teammate, state champion Nick Chavez, in a highly publicized late February incident in the school cafeteria. A sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school says he saw the 18-year-old Chavez take $15 from the younger, smaller kid, knock his lunch tray out of his hand then slap him in the face when he asked for his money back. The deputy filed a report and charged Chavez with larceny and battery. APS suspended him for three days, making him ineligible for the state wrestling tournament and therefore ineligible to defend his 195 pound title. Then someone got South Valley politicians involved. Several made calls to APS about the suspension. When APS refused to overturn it, the family got a lawyer, went to court and convinced a judge to grant an injunction blocking the suspension and letting Chavez wrestle. He’s a damn good wrestler and he won another state championship.

Chavez and his supporters have tried to pass off the incident as just typical “horseplay” between two teenage boys. When all this was first unfolding, we didn’t know for sure what happened. There was no reason to doubt the deputy’s report, but we hadn’t really heard Nick Chavez’ side of the story, so we couldn’t be certain that he is a bully. We still don’t know his side of the story. He spoke little when the case went to court yesterday, saying only that he was sorry that he and the victim haven’t remained friends. The victim did speak in court. (I hate calling him “victim” because when you read what follows, you’ll realize this kid is not afraid to stand up for himself against any bully, teenage or adult.) He was not there in person because he had to take an exam. But his attorney read a statement the boy wrote, the most articulate statement by a 17 year old that I’ve ever seen. We’ve linked it here for you to read. When you do, decide for yourself if it was just “horseplay”. You decide for yourself if Chavez was a bully. You decide for yourself about the behavior of the politicians and other adults who inserted themselves into this sordid mess.

In the end the judge, with the “victim’s” approval, let Chavez off the hook. If he doesn’t get in any more trouble, the charges against him will be dismissed in 90 days. Some people might see that as another victory for “the champ.” But when you read that letter, you’ll realize who the real champion is. It’s the kid who weighs a hundred pounds less than Nick Chavez but who pinned him to the mat with heavyweight words and wisdom.

Way to go kid!

4 Responses to “Knipfing’s Notes: The Real ‘Champ’”

  1. Ron says:

    So first you disregard the abuse the VICTIM takes and then you call him a champion for letting the wrestler play? How can you even justify your reluctance to label him as a victim? You and your kind are what keeps bullying alive and well. Stop ignoring the obvious signs and put your support behind the victims 100%.

  2. Diane Ortiz says:

    Wow, I couldnt have said it better!!! This is a small example of a larger problem in our country. Do whatever it takes to Win. What happened to equality, and integrity? I am so proud of this young man. I would vote for you!!!

  3. Paula Arrietta says:

    As my 8 year old see’s Bullying it is taught to children by all adults who interact with them. Because of Bullying at her school in the Pojoaque Valley she is doing home school now and doesn’t miss public school at all! She got really sick of Bullying by teachers as well as other school employee’s because she has Asthma and is allergic to perfumes. Instead of standing up for what was right in making a child safe at school she had to go for half a year without life saving medications within her reach or even at school until her mom brought them at lunchtime. But what made her decide she didn’t want to be there anymore was when these school people kept Bullying her disabled mom instead of helping an 8 year old and her basic civil right to go to public school and be safe. Her teacher told her she just needed to get over her perfume allergy in front of other peers in her class.

  4. [...] claimed the incident was horseplay, but the victim, in a letter read in court, made it clear he was bullied and also disappointed in the politicians who stepped in to help [...]

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