Mike Tyson, it seems, has turned his life around in recent years.
From the snarling, confrontational Tyson calling out Lennox Lewis ahead of a clash with the words "I want to eat your children", and the out-of-control thug who bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear, to a motivational speaker.
At least a glance at the website for "Mike Tyson's Day of the Champions", the event scheduled for Auckland next month, suggests that. Though it indirectly refers to the problems that have beset him, those controversies, and the significant matter of a rape conviction and six-year jail sentence, aren't specifically mentioned.
The website, which tells us "Mike Tyson is not perfect. He is not pretending to be", goes on to say the event will supply attendees, from entrepreneurs to business owners, with "all the high power content you need to succeed in 2012 and beyond!"
The programme includes other noted motivational speakers. They're plainly on the undercard, though. Tyson is the headline act, the main event, the drawcard. There's just one problem. His visa was withdrawn last week.
Not surprisingly, he's had something to say, claiming the decision didn't amount to a fair fight. "The people wanted me to come," he said.
So why shouldn't he? Doesn't everyone who has gone down the wrong road deserve the chance of redemption? There are compelling arguments for that, and the contention that he'd have presented no threat to public safety in a brief visit to Auckland.
But here are a couple of thoughts. New Zealand's immigration laws preclude those convicted of crimes and sentenced to more than five years from gaining a visa. It's our sovereign right, as a nation, to keep him out. In the past, Kiwi sports stars convicted of less serious offences have been denied entry to certain countries.
There are ways around that problem, though, and he was initially granted the visa because a letter, purportedly from the Life Education Trust, backed his application. But it turned out the organisation didn't support his entry; an overzealous individual in its ranks had sent the letter.
Kudos to the trust's powers that be, because it certainly wouldn't have been appropriate for an organisation concerned with children's education to effectively be bringing someone with Tyson's record into the country. Which doesn't mean he shouldn't come, but for an event aimed at entrepreneurs and business owners, surely there is an organisation more representative of its target audience that could have supported his application? At this point, the right decision has been made.
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