By now we've all heard Ozzie Guillen's profession of love and respect for the "Hitler" of Cuba, as well as his apologizes for expressing them vocally. Even though I am not Cuban, or even Jewish (re: Hitler reference) I still found a connection to the intolerance of his comments. That's my stance. Fidel is a coward - just like Osama Bin Laden, just like Hitler. They reign in terror in order to subdue the masses from revolting against them. I understand whole heartly the pain the cuban community must have felt upon hearing something like this from someone they may idolize. Here in America we are blessed to have freedom - freedom to speak our minds, freedom to express ourselves, without fear of death. But, with that freedom comes responsibility. Those on a public stage are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner that enriches (or in the least, does not devalue) the freedoms of those around us. While we have been granted this freedom, we must remember to remain sensitive to the freedoms of others.
With that being said, the Marlins knew what they were getting when they signed Ozzie. You don't need to be from Chicago to know what it is that draws appeal to the skipper - he's famously featured on sports shows for his rants, explosions, and garbled English. He draws a crowd. A new franchise with new uni's, stadium, and star free agents was sure to create an even bigger media buzz with his hiring. The 5-game suspension is more telling to me than anything else. To me, it's a satisfactory- at most -PR move to acknowledge the fans anger with a "punishment". But, 5 games? If he was a starting pitcher I'd say, OK. But this just took him out of the loop for less than a week. I know this is going to eventually pass on, but not within a week. There are boycotts forming. There are people who's culture has been humiliated. Miami's Cuban population for the most part, is outraged. It seems as though Miami likes that they are in the news and it appears, in my opinion, as they are living by the "No publicity is bad publicity" mantra. Enough to please the bitter folks, yet not severe enough to make people turn away from the situation and accept it. The lax 5 game suspension has caused just as much uproar as the actual comments made in the first place. Er go, the drama continues.
Now, I'm not calling for his head or anything. I've learned from the "Milton Bradley" school of thought where no matter what you say or do, if you can perform (or manage) on the field, you will always get a second, third, fourth, fifth.. chance. Most people have a relatively short memory: What you've done recently outshines the mistakes you've made in the past. What do I think is the worst part of this debacle? Twitter. Facebook. Social media. If you are tweeting Ozzie's sons and telling them that their father deserves to die and that their family will be killed, you are no better a person as the one who's comments sparked your outrage. There is NO excuse to succumb to a level of hate towards a man's children. How would you feel if you made a huge mistake and then your children had to bear it's burdens? To me, that just isn't fair. Ozzie will wear whatever is thrown at him but it is not humane nor civil to threaten a man's children no matter what his crime. Hold Ozzie responsible, do not condemn his kids. You may have pre-conceived notions about his outspoken family, but we are all human and we all make mistakes. Unfortunately for Ozzie, this mistake may not ever be forgiven.
I will not forget what Ozzie said. I will tread lightly on his comments from here on out. I've never quite agreed with his candor and in this case, I will choose not to fill my time worrying about his comments nor his opinions.
PS. I was a fan of the Florida Marlins, the young, humbled, gritty ballplayers fighting the odds and winning 2 World Series within a 7 year span. Their 2009 starting rotation was one of my all time favorites. Now, the Miami Marlins? I'm undecided.