Guillen's garbage befouls the game
Updated 6/23/2006 10:47 AM ET
Perhaps Ozzie Guillen, who likes reminding everyone that he grew up in a different country, needs a lesson in freedom of speech in these United States.
It is not always free. At least not in the private sector.
The manager of the Chicago White Sox needs more than some puny, financial slap-on-the-wrist from the commissioner's office. Bud Selig should make Guillen's wallet feel pain for his repeated slur, then warn him never again to appear in his office for publicly using reprehensible language as a representative of baseball.
I'm starting to think that Guillen chose the wrong profession, World Series ring or not. There hasn't been anybody as windy in Chicago like this since ... well, Jay Mariotti. He is the Sun-Times columnist who gets under the manager's skin like a deer tick.
Guillen yaks so much, he should have a TV show. ESPN could call it Boca Grande. Or try writing Keeping Score. Whaddya say, Skip? We can't bunt, but I'll bet you a bag of sunflower seeds you can't make deadline.
Guillen freely spouts opinions — even when they cross the line of decorum and civility. He made fun of Buck Showalter. He called Alex Rodriguez a phony. But while he likes to brush back people with high heat, he accepts criticism with the equanimity of Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan National Guard. For someone who considers himself such a macho tough guy, Oz has an onion-thin skin. What he should realize is this:
His job is to manage.
It is not to call people "fags."
He should consider that his actions may cast a bad light upon Latinos, fair or not. It might make it tougher for the next guy to come along and get an opportunity.
For years, there was serious question about whether Latinos would make good managers, and let's just say that a fair amount of bigotry went into the equation.
Guillen's success may create a trend, but his mouth puts the progress in jeopardy.
I don't care what culture you are from, or your limited education level. Guillen has been in this country long enough to understand what is not acceptable here, particularly with media. In Mariotti's case, it is his prerogative — his job — to assess the White Sox and their leadership and deliver his point of view. It appears he is prescient when it comes to the manager.
"If someone in charge doesn't muzzle Ozzie Guillen with duct tape, inject him with a horse tranquilizer or simply order him to shut the (bleep) up — his favorite expression, not mine — the man is going to talk himself out of a job and shame the city and ballclub he represents," Mariotti wrote last season.
The manager remains popular in Chicago. Unfortunately, his cap size is growing (size 8?) with his success. His reputation as an outspoken manager willing to take on anything and anyone has given him the false notion that he can speak with impunity.
Everyone has a boss. Even the great Ozzie Guillen.
If his superiors do not see fit to stuffing a sanitary sock down his gullet as it regards inappropriate language, then Selig should. He should do what he did when John Rocker discovered that free speech has limits in the workplace. The former relief pitcher was punished six years ago after making multiple derogatory comments about foreigners, gays and minorities.
Selig suspended Rocker for spring training and the season's first month. Selig disagreed when an arbitrator drastically reduced the penalties, saying, "It does not reflect any understanding of, or sensitivity to, the important social responsibility that baseball ... has to the public and completely ignores the sensibilities of those groups of people maligned by Mr. Rocker ... "
Guillen too often crosses the line. Then again, I'm not sure he would know where the line is if the grounds crew lined the middle of his forehead in chalk.
During a feature on HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel last summer, Guillen said, "I like trouble."
That prompted a surprise from interviewer James Brown: "You like trouble?"
"Yes, why not?" Guillen answered. "A lot of people have their way to say stuff."
Later, the manager expanded his logic by saying, "I swear to God, you can put me in Harvard, you can put me in any college in (the) United States, and you ask me a question, I will answer. But you put Bill Gates in Caracas, Venezuela, and he will s—- his pants. ..."
Maybe so. Somehow, this smells worse.