Daniel Orton: Comparing Pacquiao to MLK is 'absurd'
MANILA, Philippines - After his failed tenure as the Purefoods Star Hotshots’ import in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Daniel Orton has returned back to the United States where he’s currently suiting up for the Grand Rapids Drive in the NBA D-League.
Orton was let go by the Hotshots after he made controversial comments about KIA coach-player Manny Pacquiao, saying that the boxer playing in the PBA was “a joke” following a loss to the Carnival.
Orton also criticized the league’s referees, stating, “They really took the game that I know and love and made it into a mockery tonight.”
Orton was fined P250,000 for his statements about the game officials and was subsequently let go by Purefoods, with team governor Rene Pardo saying that the import’s comments about Pacquiao is comparable to going to the United States and defaming Martin Luther King Jr.
In a recent return to Oklahoma City - where Orton played a year with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder in the NBA - the 24-year-old talked to The Oklahoman and discussed a variety of topics, among which was his time in the Philippines.
“I know who Manny Pacquiao is. I know what he means to that country. But I didn't think I was going to be punished as bad as I was for telling the truth, for speaking my mind on it,” Orton told The Oklahoman.
“So I guess that's just a situation where you've got to come into it and be like, 'Man, let me just keep my mouth shut on this thing.’”
Orton also said he wasn’t surprised by how severe his fine was, seeing as he made comments about the referees - though he says he “didn’t lie about that either.”
However, the former import called getting kicked off the Hotshots “a little crazy.”
“And then for the president of our team to compare Manny Pacquiao to Martin Luther King was just absurd, really,” said Orton.
“And I kind of just left it all alone. I didn't really want to say anything because I thought it would die off. But I'm starting to learn now that it's really not. It was on SportsCenter (a few days ago). It was just incredible to me.”
Orton did say that his experience in the Philippines - and China, where he played pro-ball before joining Purefoods - has taught him a number of lessons.
“To work my (expletive) off and stay back in the NBA,” he said. “No lie. That's the truth. That's the truth.”
He also said that playing in China and the Philippines was “a lot of fun,” but “it’s nothing like being in the NBA.”