Guillen calls columnist Mariotti homosexual slur
ESPN.com news services
On Tuesday to reporters, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen referred to Chicago Sun-Times columnist and Around the Horn contributor Jay Mariotti as a derogatory name for a homosexual.
Angry with a recent column by Mariotti critical of Guillen's handling of recently demoted relief pitcher Sean Tracey and upset with Mariotti with columns of the past, Guillen said to reporters when referring to Mariotti before Tuesday's game with the Cardinals, "What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag."
Mariotti was covering the NBA Finals Tuesday night and was not present to hear what Guillen said.
Columnist Greg Couch of the Sun-Times wrote a column Wednesday in response, calling for commissioner Bud Selig to suspend Guillen for his use of a "hurtful homophobic" term.
Before writing the column, Couch asked Guillen for an explanation. Guillen defended his use of the term "fag" by saying this about homosexuals and the use of the word in question: "I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country.''
Guillen said that in his native Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person's sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is "not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing].''
Guillen also told Couch that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago.
"I called that of this man [Mariotti],'' he told Couch. "I'm not trying to hurt anybody [else]."
Scott Reifert, the White Sox's vice president of communications, offered to apologize on behalf of the organization when approached by Couch.
"To anybody who was insulted or hurt by that comment ... as an organization, we'll certainly apologize," Reifert told Couch.