[Editorial] Ozzie Guillen Vs The World
Rodstar of Rebel Diaz checks in with RubyHornet via this editorial on Ozzie Guillen, and the trouble the former White Sox manager faces after comments regarding Fidel Castro. Read his thoughts below. These thoughts are his and do not necessarily represent the ideas and views of RubyHornet.
Anybody that has grown up in Chicago and or been a longtime sports fan is familiar with the outspoken style of current Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. The former White Sox shortstop and manager that led the Southside team to win the World Series in 2005 is no stranger to controversy. However, the controversy he found himself in this week was something different than usual. In a recent Time magazine interview he was quoted as saying that “He loved and respected Fidel Castro.” While this type of comment from Guillen is not new, the fact he said it as manager of The Miami Marlins is what caused the huge uproar. Little Havana, where the new Marlins stadium is located, is home to a large and economically powerful Cuban American exile community, which in no way was going to accept the praise of a man that apparently has caused them so much harm.
What we saw in Miami was an explosion of media outcry, politicians making public statements to please their voters, and nothing short of a demand for Ozzie Guillen’s head on a dinner plate. What followed was Guillen not only making an unusual apology, but a man publicly fighting for his livelihood on a nationally televised press conference. Apparently, an apology was not enough as Guillen was also given a 5 game suspension by The Miami Marlins. Ironically, the same lack of freedom of speech that the Cuban American exiles claim that Castro has taken away from them has been practiced in this incident.
What we witnessed was once again the reality check that politics don’t belong in sports unless they are the politics that agree with the oppressor. We are constantly bombarded with politics in our sports. Whether it’s with images of U.S Soldiers before NFL games, with the National Anthem before baseball games, with images of Nolan Ryan sitting next to war criminal George Bush at Texas Rangers games etc. However historically it has been proven that any type of political ideas or statements that disagree with the agenda of capitalism will be shut down immediately. Sports and capitalism go together in this country like America and Apple Pie. Look at all the endorsement money, the corporation named stadiums, the billionaires who own the teams and the politicians they are in cahoots with. We can’t forget Michael Jordan’s statement in the 1990s, in which he refused to support a Democratic Party candidate because “Republicans buy Nikes too.”
We cant talk about Ozzie Guillen’s current situation and not talk about John Carlos and Tommy Smith, the two track and field athletes who in the 1968 Olympics stood up at the medal stand and gave the world a Black Power fist up salute. They were blackballed from sports and their lives post that moment were made impossible by the press and racist bigots. Or what about NBA and NCAA star Chris Jackson who changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul Rauf and was heavily attacked for refusing to stand for the National Anthem? Craig Hodges, the defending 3 Point Champion and NBA Champion Chicago Bulls backup guard was blackballed from the NBA for showing up at the White House wearing an African dashiki and presenting then President George Bush Sr with a list of demands from Chicago’s Black community. He never played in an NBA game again. Or what about Pittsburgh Steelers and former University of Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall, who caught heavy backlash and lost his endorsements due to a tweet that questioned the “celebration of Bin Laden’s death?” Muhammad Ali who stood up against the war, spent 3 of his prime boxing years outside of the ring for refusing to go to a war he felt was unjust.
We also must put ESPN in context for who and what they represent. They are owned by Disney, whose founder Walt Disney, has a dark history of anti-Semitism and right wing politics. They have historically covered athletes with racial bias. They have defended and attacked at their own discretion. They recently tried to cover up Syracuse coach Bernie Fines molesting charges by withholding a tape with evidence that was given to them 10 years before the story came to light. In 2009, they were the last major network to cover Ben Roethlisberger’s rape arrest and were quoted as saying that the reason they did not want to cover it was that “it was a private matter.” In 2003, they had right wing conservative Rush Limbaugh join Sundays NFL Countdown only to see him attack black QB Donovan McNabb with racist remarks. Then there is the incident earlier this year when ESPN’s Max Breto used the ”chink in the armor” line when talking about NY Knicks PG Jeremy Lin. So we must understand that ESPN is inherently a right wing owned sports station that covers sports with an economic and racial bias.
ESPN’s recent coverage of the Ozzie Guillen situation has been used as an excuse to heavily promote Anti-Castro and Anti Hugo Chavez propaganda. ESPN commentators even went as far as calling Fidel Castro –Cuba’s Hitler! On various occasions they lied and said Castro is responsible for the death of millions and millions of Cubans. The reality is that a living and breathing revolution has been going on just 90 miles south of Miami for the last 53 years. Millions of people have not been killed and Cuba is not what Nazi Germany was. Cuba is actually a country with a people’s revolution that has outlived various presidents and athletes. It is a revolution that if it were not supported by millions of Cubans living on the island would not exist today. Is Castro really like Hitler?? Has there been a genocide in Cuba? Lets talk facts: Cuba has the lowest infant mortality rate in the Americas, lower than the US and Canada. At 99.8 % it has the highest literacy rate. The best healthcare system and one of the worlds highest life expectancies at 77yrs old. Many of the problems we see here in our country don’t exist over there. Education and healthcare are free. There are no homeless people. There aren’t 3 million people in jail. The reason we receive nothing but negative propaganda and don’t hear about the positive impacts of the revolution is that Cuba and now Venezuela, practice Socialism which is the polar opposite of the global neo liberal capitalist economic model. That is the big difference here. Those Cuban exiles and their families that now own most Spanish language media, came over here because Castro and the revolutionaries took away their greed and wealth and shared it amongst the people. Much of their greed and wealth was accumulated at the expense of poor Cubans having their land and resources pimped by The United States. The man Fidel Castro overthrew was a true dictator. Fulgencio Batista was mainly responsible for turning Cuba into a Las Vegas type adult playground full of prostitution, gambling and corruption. Castro is a champion for the poor that overthrew Batista and is loved by way more people than he is hated, the same goes for Chavez in Venezuela.
If you watched ESPN’s coverage you may have noticed that the “dozens” of folks protesting were really just a “dozen” people, mostly old, rich and white Cubans who perhaps still yearn for Batista’s politics. We need to take Ozzie Guillen for what he is, a loudmouth sometimes obnoxious man, who speaks his mind and is successful at what he does. However, we can’t look to him for a serious political analysis. In 2005, moments after winning the World Series, he yelled Viva Chavez y Viva Venezuela!! A couple years later he is on TV saying he would rather die than vote for Chavez, much to the delight of the Cuban American and Anti Chavez mafiosos. More than anything, we need to see Ozzie Guillen as a man who made a Pro Castro comment in an Anti Castro city and country and was seriously censored and vilified by Major League Baseball, ESPN, and the Cuban American exiled mafia.
We are once again reminded about our freedom of speech or lack thereof.