Talking to a group of approximately 20 reporters before a game on Tuesday, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen let them know what he thought of Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti:
"What a piece of [deleted] he is, [deleted] fag.''
Guillen and the Sox are apparently in an ongoing feud with the columnist. But Guillen's homophobic transgression is not his first. Last August, talking to another pool of reporters, he introduced a friend of his by saying, "'Hey, everybody, this guy's a homosexual! He's a child molester!'"
Sun-Times reporter Greg Couch has now called for Ozzie's suspension.
Guillen, who was recently sworn in as a U.S. citizen, had this to say to Couch regarding his anti-gay slurs:
"'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 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].' He also said that he has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to the Madonna concert and plans to attend the Gay Games in Chicago. 'I called that of this man [Mariotti],' he said. 'I'm not trying to hurt anybody [else].'
So, if I might fill in the blanks, Guillen is saying that those he calls "piece of shit...fucking fags" have a "lack of courage" and are "not man enough." Based on his earlier comments, he also equates homosexuals with child molesters. But according to Guillen, he means no harm towards gays in general.
What Guillen needs to be made to realize is that as a public figure, his words and actions go far beyond the personal. As a manager of World Series champions, he is a role model.
Guillen should remember what happened to Cincinnatti Reds owner Marge Schott who was fined $25,000 and banned from operations of the Reds for nearly a year. Schott called former Reds Eric Davis and Dave Parker "million-dollar niggers." She also said she didn't want her players to wear earrings because "only fruits wear earrings." And this priceless gem: "Hitler was good in the beginning, but he went too far."
When will pro sports leagues begin holding their employees and athletes as responsible for homophobic comments as they do for racist and sexist slurs?
Scott Reifert, the Sox' vice president of communications, told Greg Couch: "Obviously, from an organizational perspective, I don't think in that case that Ozzie was trying to disparage a group. That said, it certainly is a poor word choice. It's insensitive. It's not something we would condone, not something the White Sox would stand for. To anybody who was insulted or hurt by that comment, as an organization, we'll certainly apologize.''
Bravo to Couch for calling Guillen out on this. I agree, it's time for more than apologies.
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