White Sox blew it by allowing sexist shrine
Guillen, team leaders weren't man enough to say 'this is wrong'
May 6, 2008
BY CAROL SLEZAK firstname.lastname@example.org
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen curses this city for failing to give the Sox organization proper respect, but he has no problem with the infantile and sexist "shrine" his players erected in their locker room.
So much for sensitivity training.
Apparently the sensitivity training classes White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen attended after using a gay slur in 2006 did not include a segment on blow-up dolls.
Designed to help the team break out of its slump, the shrine featured two female blow-up dolls surrounded by ''strategically placed'' baseball bats and was accompanied by a sign that read, ''You've Got To Push,'' Canada's National Post reported.
''A few of the bats were doing naughty things,'' Sun-Times beat writer Joe Cowley wrote in his blog. Apparently one of the dolls was propped up by a bat in its rear end. Whether the lewdness was intentional or not, this was inappropriate. As were the blow-up dolls. Period.
Neither Guillen, his players nor anyone else in the Sox organization had attempted to conceal the shrine from reporters before the Sox played the Blue Jays on Sunday at Toronto's Rogers Centre. And on Monday, Guillen defended the display (which had since been taken down), rationalizing that the team treats female reporters respectfully, and besides, he has seen a lot worse during his big-league career. So what's the big deal, anyway?
Apparently the sensitivity training classes Guillen attended after using a gay slur in 2006 did not include a segment on blow-up dolls.
Just so we're clear, had there been any female reporters working Sunday's game -- my understanding is there weren't -- the Sox could have found themselves in legal trouble as a result of the display. It's also possible male reporters were offended by the display.
But this isn't about reporters' feelings. Reporters are conduits to the fans. What a team does behind closed doors is its own business. But once the locker room opens, the franchise is on public display. So, how do you like your team now, Sox fans? Do you think the players respect women? I'm not so sure about that.
Can you imagine the Yankees or Red Sox building a similar shrine in their locker room, in full view of clubhouse visitors? Can you imagine Joe Girardi or Terry Francona allowing that to happen? I can't.
While Guillen has no problem with the shrine, he has definite issues with where the Sox rank in this two-team baseball city. His Sunday sermon proved that.
''The Cubs haven't won in 120 years, and they're the [bleep]ing best,'' he said. ''[Bleep] everybody. We're horse[bleep], and we're going to be horse[bleep] the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win. We are the ***** of Chicago. We're the Chicago *****.''
Why is he wasting energy on the Cubs? More important, how can he complain about a lack of respect while his players are worshipping blow-up dolls in the locker room? It's absurd.
That's not to let the players off the hook. Who among them thought this was a good idea? How could the so-called team leaders -- Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, Mark Buehrle, Orlando Cabrera and Nick Swisher -- allow this this to happen?
To think there wasn't a single player man enough to stand up and say, ''This is wrong.''
I'm sure the players' moms, wives, sisters and daughters are really proud of them. Way to go, guys. And just so we're clear, the tired ''boys will be boys'' excuse no longer works.
But it starts at the top. I'm pretty sure Guillen was born without a sensitivity chip, but what about general manager Ken Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf? What about commissioner Bud Selig, who ordered Guillen's 2006 sensitivity training? Verbal or not, intended or not, the blow-up doll shrine said a mouthful about how the Sox organization views women. And I don't like what I heard.