Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Ozzie Guillen situation is scaring me

People are calling for him to be fired and this scares me

I know,this isn't an issue of 1st Amendment rights because he is not facing government punishment and a private organization has the ability to hire/fire whomever they please, but I do not like this situation.

Let's get a couple of things straight. Ozzie Guillen is stupid for complementing Castro as an American citizen, let alone the manager of a team in a city with a lot of Cubans. He should be reprimanded internally. I don't particularly agree with a suspension, but I can understand wanting to punish him for showing bad judgment, but there are people wanting to fire him. I don't understand how an interview with a Venezuelan-American baseball manager can drift on the subject of Castro's rule, but I'm sure he could've easily said no comment or changed the subject or requested that his statement was off the record.

First off, Ozzie has a history of saying stupid stuff. Most of us are laughing about it. My first instinct was to laugh and make a joke about how the Washington Nationals need to make a statement denouncing
Robert Mugabe. Comedians Neal Brennan and Tosh.0 made jokes. Don't take Ozzie Guillen's quotes too seriously.

Next, he is just a baseball manager. WHO CARES WHAT HIS THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT FOREIGN POLITICAL LEADERS! They have little bearing on your life. I could understand the concern if he was President Guillen, Ambassador Guillen or Secretary of State Guillen. But he isn't. Marion Barry, a DC councilman has a history of saying/doing dumb stuff and so did Ted Kennedy, God rest his soul, but we still let them keep their jobs, and their thoughts and actions matter more than a baseball manager.

Thirdly, no matter how controversial your comments are, you should not be punished for stating an opinion that contains no racial slurs, doesn't condone violence against certain minorities or brings up unpleasant stereotypes. I don't completely agree with someone being reprimanded for calling a group of women nappy headed hos, or Whitney Houston a crack ho, or a comedian joking that he would kill his son for being gay, but I can understand doing something. But Castro is the bad person on this, not Ozzie.

Lastly, this trend is disturbing, borderline thought policing. Imagine if a manager of a minor league team in the bible belt was interviewed by a major magazine and he expressed pro gay or pro choice thoughts. The local population and other Americans might find those thoughts offensive and protest to try to get him fired. Isn't the Ozzie situation similar to that hypothetical situation I listed? Former St. Louis Cardinals manager
Tony LaRussa publicly supported controversial talk show host Glenn Beck  and people never called for LaRussa to be fired. It's a shame how far we've come in 2 years.

I'm sorry to all the Cubans that were negatively effected by Castro but calling on a boycott to get Guillen fired for this Castro issue, which he apologized for, is not going to heal your suffering. Lets just drop the issue and move on with your life.

1 comment:

  1. My guess is that Cuban fans support the Marlins in ticket and merchandise sales. I am also guessing that he did not make this statement as a representative of the Marlins, and that it was simply a personal opinion. As a result, the suspension is not fair and totally unnecessary in my opinion, but I can sort of see why it is necessary from a business standpoint, and only from that standpoint. I can absolutely see how a comment like his could cause a drop in revenue from Cuban Marlins fans. As a business owner, you cannot have that, so they needed to send a message that would, on even the most superficial and minor level, appear to indicate that team ownership cares about the feelings of Cuban-Americans in Miami, especially those that are incredibly passionate about their prior historical experiences. Some people simply feel so passionate about this subject that it will cause them to stop supporting the Marlins emotionally and financially, and as a business owner, that is very bad news. The customer is always right in the business world, especially when a product is being sold.

    However, I do feel that a suspension like this sets a bad precedence on what type of speech can be policed, regardless of the fact that this incident occurred within a private entity, and private companies usually hire employees on an "employment-at-will-basis". He never condoned the acts of Castro, which is the big key point that some people forget. In fact, Ozzie went out of his way to criticize the ways Castro treated the Cuban people.

    A statement like Ozzie’s would probably get a rise out of fellow co-workers if it was said in a white collar office setting, but I doubt many office employees would get fired or suspended for such a remark. On the other hand, racial, sexist and homophobic slurs are intended to purposely tear down the integrity, pride and character of someone else with malicious intent, and I think those remarks are easily suspend-able and fire-able offenses.

    It’s interesting that you mentioned Marion Barry. What he said recently about Chinese business owners is in such a different level than what Castro said. Barry's comments are so much worse than what Castro said that I do not think you can even compare what he did to what Ozzie did. Barry's comments, unlike Castro's, appeared to purposely target Asian-Americans and lay the seeds for conversation and change based solely on race, as opposed to cold hard facts. His argument should be based only on the food and sanitary conditions themselves, not the color of the person behind the counter. Then, his apology mentioned that he wanted to apologize to the Asian-American community. There are many more people besides Asian-Americans who were offended and taken aback, so to confine his apology just to Asian-Americans only further degrades his character.