Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thoughts about Ozzie Guillen and free speech

Freedom of speech is a right of every citizen in this country. What's often dismissed about it is the freedom others similarly have to react with their own thoughts to what somebody has said.
Ozzie Guillen made his own bed. His statement that he "loves" Fidel Castro, especially given he is the manager of the Marlins, in a city, Miami, so many people have gone to escape the oppression of Castro's Cuba, is deplorable.
When I heard the statement, I thought of Alex Sanchez, the former Tigers outfielder, and talking to him about his three days at sea during which he feared dying at 18 in open water on a makeshift raft trying to get this country from Cuba. Sanchez spent 16 months in a detention camp after being rescued by the Coast Guard, before he was allowed his freedom here.
The outrage in the Cuban community is not an overreaction. It is justified. Guillen couldn't have said anything worse in a town where Castro is viewed like Hitler.
Guillen has always been a loose cannon, but he is a manager that is generally respected in the game. I asked Jim Leyland about him a year or two ago and he said, "Ozzie is dumb like a fox."
I agree about his ability as a baseball manager. He is a good manager. His antics are usually funny. Generally, he is likable, but he badly misspoke on this issue. The five-game suspension by the Marlins is justified. His apology was appropriately contrite, but the wound he opened is wide in the community he now resides. It will take a long time to heal. For many, it will never.
Thing about free speech and thought, it's their right, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always liked Cuillen - he's a crazy nutjob but he loved to beat the Tigers and the same for us. He, however, got himself in some hot water on this one, forget free speech. That guy is nuts but I like him. I'll miss him in the Central.

6:18 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

There are two sides to every coin, ad the flip side to your right to Free Speech is the consequences of your expression of a thought.

The right to free speech is not a force field to protect one from their critics.

Ozzie Guillen represents everything dirty about baseball to me. I'm still convinced that he was behind getting Cabrera pissed to the gills in the 2009 pennant race.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this was not as unitentional as Guillen proclaims.

12:23 PM 

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