Friday, June 23, 2006


The Other "F"-Word

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen has made a nice brief -- and successful -- career as a "call 'em as he sees 'em" straight (ahem!) talking, politically incorrect guy. He wasn't afraid to pick profanity-laden fights with former members of the team and members of the press. Last year, his refreshing personality led his team to its first World Series championship in 88 years.

This year, his act may have grown stale. In the last few weeks, he harangued a rookie pitcher who didn't throw at an opposing player in retaliation for a White Sox player being hit by a pitch. After being publically upbraided by Guillen, pitcher Sean Tracey was sent back down to the minors.

Then last week, Guillen called Chicago Sun-Times columnist
Jay Mariotti a "fag." He was fined by the Commissioner Bud Selig and ordered to undergo the always handy standby "sensitivity training." The media has apparently grown tired of Ozzie.

Personally, I think Selig is well within his rights as manager to fine a manager for inappropriate language. After all, the commissioner's job is to make the sport attractive to all segments of society. Guillen shouldn't have used the word. He was probably accurate when he said that he didn't mean "fag" to refer to Mariotti's sexual orientation. On the other hand, unlike
the various meanings of the "N"-word, it's quite clear that Guillen meant it in a derogatory sense.

There are gay baseball fans in Chicago that might be offended by Guillen's preferred choice of insult (Mariotti, as far as I know, isn't gay). (Indeed, Jeff Passan files a rather cool column asking gay Chicago sports fans
what they think of Guillen.) Selig has to demonstrate that that sort of language isn't considered appropriate in his sport. However, my eyes tend to roll when I hear someone has been told to take "sensitivity training" clases. Exactly how does a short course change someone's basic behavorial and lifetime consciousness?

For that matter, should it?

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