Ozzie Guillen was wearing a White Sox uniform. He was talking to a bunch of reporters, maybe 20 of them taking notes or holding tape recorders. He was sitting in the White Sox’ dugout.
And these are the words that came from the face of the White Sox before Tuesday’s game, referring to a Chicago writer he was angry with: “What a piece of [deleted] he is, [deleted] fag.”
He was angry with Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti (above), who was on his way to the NBA Finals. Guillen and the Sox have a feud with Mariotti. And in full disclosure, I obviously work at the same paper. But whatever you think of his columns or of him, that doesn’t matter here.
What matters is the man who most stands for this organization is throwing around such nasty and hurtful homophobic terms. The issue here is not Mariotti.
The issue is that Guillen said the wrong thing, and he does it often and it never sticks to him. That’s just Ozzie, we hear. And the Sox tend to chuckle about this stuff, as if we can just forgive him. Why? Because English is his second language?
Not good enough. Last year in New York, he referred to someone as homosexual and a child molester, equating the two.
He took some heat for that one, briefly. So he should have known.
Guillen is not dumb. Let’s not insult him. He knows what he’s saying, and he certainly knows that it’s not acceptable. He has been in this country for a quarter of a century. This offseason, I went to his swearing-in as a U.S. citizen.
He was wrong. And he needs to apologize.
And he needs to be suspended. Are you listening, Bud Selig?
After the game, I told Guillen what I was planning to say here, and I gave him a chance to explain. Here’s what he said:
“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.
Chris Moyles, unavailable for comment.