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Are You Really Free to Speak in America?

I have been following with a great deal of interest the plight of Miami Marlin Manager Ozzie Guillen. If you haven’t been, here is what happened. 

Photo courtesy: Miami Herald

Guillen, who has been known to be very outspoken about things in baseball stepped out of the baseball world with his words this week and is now paying the price for it.  Guillen was asked about Fidel Castro, the Cuban Dictator.  He responded that he “loves Fidel Castro”.  Well, this is America and he has a right to say just that if he wants to.  The problem is he said it in an area that is heavily populated by Cuban refugees who risked their lives to come to America to get away from the Cuban Dictator. The very people who hate Castro.  These are also the same people who were extremely excited to have Ozzie Guillen, an Hispanic manager, come to direct their favorite baseball team, the Marlins.  The team chose Guillen because he is a proven manager, having managed the Chicago White Sox for 8 years, and also because he is Hispanic. The thought being that he would also attract more fans to the Marlins brand new baseball park as well. That thought process was working with a large crowd attending the first game against the Cardinals and ticket sales escalating for the upcoming games in Miami.  What the team wasn’t prepared for was Ozzie Guillen firing off his comments prior to thinking about them. The team should have been though. This in nothing new for Guillen.  He has had previous incidents but those were inside of baseball.  The Cuban fan base protested outside the Marlin’s Stadium yesterday asking for his firing. Guillen called a news conference to apologize for what he said. The team meanwhile has suspended Guillen for 5 games. They had to do something to placate the Cuban fan base.  A team has the right to do what they think is correct in handling a situation that in this case damages the ball club. On the other hand, this is America and Ozzie has the right to say what he wants regardless if it is popular or not.  That’s a lesson we all need to learn.  Speech is free in this country….the actions from it sometimes can be costly. Time will tell for Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins.



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