11:16 PM EDT, April 9, 2012
Frankness is his charm
Los Angeles Times
Should Ozzie Guillen be punished for speaking his mind? No, not if the Marlins believe in free speech.
However, South Florida has only a tenuous relationship with free speech — especially regarding Cuba.
And Guillen, a former Marlins coach who has long maintained a home in South Florida, certainly knows that.
Guillen's comments put the team in a tough spot at a time when it was opening the doors to a new $515 million home in the heart of Miami's Little Havana, the most rabidly anti-Castro piece of real estate on Earth. But Guillen's charm is his frankness and the Marlins accepted that when they hired him. Punishing him for speaking his mind is the wrong thing to do.
Guillen crossed a line
Gaby Sanchez, the Marlins' first baseman of Cuban heritage, describes the latest Ozzie Guillen firestorm as "drama for nothing.''
In the big sense, he's totally right, as 99.9 percent of what Guillen says is nonsense that is intended to entertain, with shock value always in play.
It's better to judge people by their actions, not their words, but what's the difference between saying you love Fidel Castro or Hitler? Leaders lead, they don't just try to be provocative. Guillen, given his position, crossed a line and should face meaningful discipline.
He's not a Castro backer
Juan C. Rodriguez
How do you punish insensitivity? How do you castigate someone for imbecilic words, especially when he didn't mean what he said?
Guillen is not a Castro supporter. For Guillen, the despot's longevity — not his politics — is the curiosity, the source of fascination.
The Marlins don't need to punish Guillen.
The painstaking process of regaining credibility in the very community he was brought here to invigorate is punishment enough.
Apology is enough
Punish Ozzie Guillen for what, speaking his mind?
What Guillen said to Time magazine — that he loves Fidel Castro and respects him for staying in power when so many people have wanted him dead for decades — was obviously offensive to many, especially in Miami's Cuban-American community.
It seems like Guillen was trying to be humorous and make the kind of high-shock-value comments that everyone has come to expect from him. But whether he even meant what he said is beside the point.
Guillen expressed an opinion, and as unpopular as it might've been, punishing him is the wrong course of action. He has since apologized and attempted to clarify his comments. That should be enough.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun