However, Ozzie Guillen, the manager of last season's World Series-winning White Sox, generally typifies the exemplary dumbing down of society at the cost of success. Essentially, my theory is that, whether in sports or in business, if an individual -- no matter how abrasive, abusive or generally disliked he/she might be -- achieves results, than his/her quirks, oddities and/or shitty personality is overlooked. The sports world is a useful, frequent example of this phenomenon: Bill Parcells is an abusive, dictatorial egomaniac, and treats almost everyone around him with condescension, ridicule and disgust. He's also won two Super Bowls and is regarded as an impressive benchmark when it comes to NFL coaches. Bobby Knight achieved greater success as a coach of Indiana's Men's Basketball team; however, his personality offended so many people in that school's administration that they fomented a political witch hunt that wound up with his ouster. In the non-sports world, Donald Trump is a fairly good example of egomaniacal, abusive and nasty -- but The Donald makes money, and, frankly, from the couch watching him berate future Apprentices, he's more entertaining a caricature than derisive. But few would dispute he's like sandpaper on silk.
Then there's Ozzie Guillen. Ozzie is a fiery former player who happens to be of Venezuelan heritage. Recently, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and Around the Horn contributor Jay Mariotti wrote an article criticizing Ozzie's use of relief pitchers, and last night, when asked by other reporters about Mariotti's piece criticizing him, Ozzie's response was: "What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag."
Now whether or not Mr. Mariotti is gay is irrelevant. And frankly, this is baseball, not Geopolitique. So if Ozzie decided to use a gay slur that is usually uttered by cretins, white-power supporters and fifth graders to describe a reporter -- to other reporters -- that's his business. But what really -- really -- blew me away was what followed.
Columnist Greg Couch, also of the Sun-Times, wrote a column today in response, calling for commissioner Bud Selig to suspend Guillen for his use of a "hurtful homophobic" term.
According to the ESPN.com article describing this incident, Guillen responded thusly:
Before writing the column, Couch asked Guillen for an explanation. Guillen defended his use of the term "fag" by saying this about homosexuals and the use of the word in question: "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 his native 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].''
Guillen also told Couch that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago.
"I called that of this man [Mariotti],'' he told Couch. "I'm not trying to hurt anybody [else]."
When did people take such pride in their stupidity? When did being a bigot, a moron and a backwards-ass, judgemental simpleton be acceptable? When did Ozzie Guillen forget he wasn no longer in Venezuela and it was no longer acceptable to refer -- in front of an open mic speaking to reporters -- to their colleague in such a derogatory way? And frankly, when did Ozzie Guillen decide he wouldn't mind being referred to as An Ignorant Spic?
To be honest, I think him referring to Mariotti as a fag is not an awful thing, unless, of course, Mr. Mariotti is gay. Attacking Mr. Mariotti for his sexual preference is shitty and absolutely unacceptable and should probably result with Mr. Guillen in court, whether or not Major League Baseball and/or the Chicago White Sox opt to fine him. If Mr. Marrioti is not homosexual, it's still not right -- but it just shows Mr. Guillen has the mentality (and the political correctness) of a ten-year-old. If I were homosexual I would probably be offended, but the truth is I'm more shocked over Mr. Guillen's explanation and rationalization of this stupidity than the actual remark.
If nothing else, I'd be embarassed if I were a White Sox fan; Ozzie's not a bad manager, he's just plain stupid. But I would really love it if a reporter decided to interview him, or would refer to him in an interview with another manager, and refer to him as that dumb spic, and excuse his or her remarks with "I didn't mean anything by that, I just wanted to let Ozzie know what I thought of him."
Thanks to Ozzie Guillen for demonstrating stupidity as its own excuse.