You’ll never hear Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald comment on Mitt Romney, let alone Fidel Castro.

Fitzgerald said he not only refrains from discussing politics in public, he and family members "don’t talk about that a whole lot … even when I’m home."

Fitzgerald, a White Sox fan thanks to his Orland Park roots, said Tuesday that he wasn’t fully aware of the comments Ozzie Guillen made that led to his five-game suspension.

"The great thing about America is freedom of speech and freedom to disagree," Fitzgerald said. "I also think you have to be respectful and have some awareness. If you go down some roads, you’ll open yourself up for questions. When you do that, it’s your fault. I don’t know what Oz said, but he has always been a little colorful."

Fitzgerald added: "You have to be very smart and careful with how and where you express your opinions. They can and will be held against you."

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein