|Guillen Continues to Act Foolish||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on April 12, 2012
Ozzie Guillen put his foot in his mouth. Again.¬† No one should be surprised by this or by many of the stupid and offensive things that Guillen has said in his career.
The funny thing about Ozzie is that he's almost always gotten a free pass on the things he's said.¬† It's been dismissed as Ozzie being Ozzie, much in the same way that fans have just shaken their heads and accepted the misadventures of Manny Ramirez.
Oh, certainly Guillen's been offensive before, calling sportswriter Jay Marriotti a fag, saying umpire Harry Wendelstedt wasn't even a "pimple on his daddy's ass" and more.¬† The point is that Ozzie always has an opinion and he's never been politically correct or sensitive to issues or kept his mouth shut when he really didn't quite have a clue as to what he's saying.
Now while some of what Guillen said may in fact have been lost in translation, you have to wonder just why anyone from Time was asking Guillen about anything political. ¬† The line of questioning seems strange and makes one wonder if the reporter was hoping to light some kind of political fire by getting Guillen to say something inflammatory.¬† It makes just about as much sense as asking any Hollywood starlet what they think about taking sanctions against Iran.¬† Just what the heck does that opinion matter?
Well, it matters for Guillen because he once again, and not surprisingly, put his foot in his mouth.¬† I certainly don't think he meant to say that he loved and admired Fidel Castro.¬† I think the gist of what he was trying to say that he admired the man's ability to survive against a world that sanctioned him, hated him and tried to oust or kill him time and time again.
I'm not of Cuban descent and didn't have family who fled from Castro's regime, so I can't say honestly how offensive his comments, if real, are to that community.¬† But Guillen clearly is an ignorant and poorly educated man who got in way over his head with what he may have said -- and I suspect the majority of the Cuban community by and large will see it that way.
And I think he knows he said something wrong, even if it wasn't his intent. His apology Tuesday morning came across as genuine and heartfelt as it could have been.¬† He showed remorse and admitted to his mistakes, begging the local community for forgiveness and promising to be more supportive and careful in his future comments and dealings.
Guillen isn't a politician -- despite his silly boasts that he could be one back in Venezuela.¬† What he is is a baseball manager, a controversial one, a colorful one and even a pretty good one.¬† He'll make plenty of mistakes, but to think that he'd intentionally go out and publically say something to hurt the local Cuban community is ludicrous.
This man isn't Marge Schott who knew what she was saying when she ran off on her racist diatribes.¬† He's an ignorant man who stepped in it but realized only after the fact that he spoke poorly.
Now it's up to the Cuban community in Miami to decide what to do with the Marlins and Guillen.¬† They can make political hay of it and boycott the team and its sponsors until the Marlins fire Guillen, or they can ease off and realize that he's not worth it, dismiss him as just another in a line of ignorant people who speak out wrongly about things they can't even begin to understand.