Welcome to a new feature on the Korner. “He said what?” will highlight some of the dumber things sports people say.
First up: Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Guillen is no stranger to putting his foot in his mouth, much to the exasperation of the White Sox and MLB. He’s one of the prime reasons why some people shouldn’t be allowed to use Twitter or other social networking sites; he seems to have no filter and his comments have resulted in fines from time to time.
But this one seems to have gone undetected (thanks to KK chaver Jeremy for the lead).
The Sox are not enjoying a great 2011. As of this writing, they’re third in the AL Central Division with a record of 75-79. Guillen is signed through the 2012 season but wants to know if the team will be extending his contract. If not, he has said, he wants to start looking at other options.
In his pregame remarks before yesterday’s doubleheader with the Cleveland Indians, Guillen said,
“The future? Only two gods I know: Jerry’s God and the real God know what my future is being here.’’
Okay, everybody, all together now:
He said what?
The “Jerry” in this case is Jerry Reinsdorf the Jewish chairman of the White Sox (he is also owner of the Chicago Bulls).
Now, I’ve often been accused of being a “benefit of the doubt” kind of guy, preferring to wait and see — probably too long — for the good to come out of a situation, but there are two problems here (maybe more; math isn’t my thing).
First off, “Jerry’s God and the real God.” So does that mean Guillen thinks his boss is worshiping a false God, or that his and Reinsdorf’s are the only two gods, which, if that’s the case, is going to piss off a lot of Muslims, Buddhists, and anyone else not in “the club.”
Second, and at the risk of offending the sports media, how did no one pick up on that? Are they that insensitive to such a pronouncement? Or do they just not care, chalking it up to the ramblings of a loon, excusing it as Ozzie being Ozzie?
Third (I told you about the math), keep religion out of the locker room, okay? The White Sox do not have any Jews on their roster (rumors about Dylan Axelrod being MOT proved to be untrue), but Reinsdorf, you would think, would take exception. And don’t forget about Bud. (But then again…)
I received a call from the White Sox this afternoon. Their spokesperson, in fact, was quite responsive to the issue and wanted to reassure that Guillen was trying to be amusing, as he apparently is wont to do, and was not speaking in a religious tone. I’m willing to accept that there was no religious malice or anti-Semitism intended (benefit of the doubt guy, remember?) and I don’t expect Reinsdorf to issue a statement one way or the other.
On the other hand, just as Guillen was directed to take a sensitivity course for a homophobic slur he made in 2006, he needs to be aware of his reputation as a loose cannon and that his comments carry consequences. Falling back on a “free speech” defense or “I was just joking” isn’t good enough.
P.S. I also left a message with MLB’s media relations office. So far, nothing. Either they figure it’s an internal matter for the White Sox; don’t care; don’t consider it an issue; or just plain feel they don’t need to bother responding since this isn’t The New York Times or network TV.