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You Can't Say That! [with apologies to David Bernstein]

So Ozzie Guillen, the outspoken and outrageous (and very successful) manager of the Chicago White Sox, has been fined by the Commissioner of Baseball and sent to a re-education facility -- oops, I mean "has to undergo sensitivity training" -- for calling a local Chicago reporter a "fag." [Here's the ESPN story] I don't know about you, but I would not want the job of being Ozzie Guillen's sensitivity trainer. . . .

rbj:
I don't know/care about Jay Mariotti's sexual preference, but everything else Ozzie said about him is perfectly fair, IMO.
6.23.2006 3:46pm
frankcross (mail):
I believe "you can't say that" is meant to be directed toward governmental restrictions on speech, not the free market choices of private entities.
6.23.2006 3:53pm
Shangui (mail):
Of course, as I'm sure DB would point out, as a private organization MLB can do pretty much whatever they want in terms of regulating that kind of speech, can't they? Is this particular incident worse than fining owners and others for criticizing officiating, league officials, etc.?
6.23.2006 3:55pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
What an outrage!! Next thing you know, they will fine managers for saying "nigger" or "kike" --- Please, David Post save us from that kind of world.
6.23.2006 3:57pm
TomHynes (mail):
It isn't enough to play the "some of my best friends are gays". Sometimes you have to play the "I go to WNBA games" card.


"Guillen also told Couch that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago."
6.23.2006 4:04pm
Nels Nelson (mail):
What's the point of this post? That the government should force a private employer to be represented by someone who publicly says "fucking faggot" while performing his job duties?
6.23.2006 4:07pm
procrastinating clerk (mail):
Greedy Clerk. I take offense at the language used in your post, but, unfortunately, the First Amendment now prevents Professor Post from ever deleting it.
6.23.2006 4:17pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
I think the point, Nels Nelson, is that it should still be socially acceptable to say "fag" in public without reprecussions from private employers. Pining for lost youth, lost innocence, lost ability to express scorn for Democratic-leaning minority groups.
6.23.2006 4:19pm
procrastinating clerk (mail):
Bob Bobstein,

Try Alabama, the weather's great this time of year.
6.23.2006 4:23pm
anonymousss (mail):
do you really think it should be acceptable to call people fags in public?
6.23.2006 4:26pm
P.K. Scott (mail):
As interesting side note, it took me 20 minutes of news searching to find the "offensive homophobic remark" that all of the print outlets and radio shows constantly referred to Ozzie as saying. At least for more traditional racist remarks, the news will refer to the "n-word." But absolutely no mention of the actual word until I found a gay rights discussion board on page 2 of my Google search of "Ozzie Guillen homophobic."

Also, I wouldn't want to be Ozzie's sensitivity trainer either. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that event.
6.23.2006 4:33pm
Philistine (mail):
As interesting side note, it took me 20 minutes of news searching to find the "offensive homophobic remark" that all of the print outlets and radio shows constantly referred to Ozzie as saying.

It was in the story linked by David Post:


Guillen said to reporters when referring to Mariotti before Tuesday's game, "What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag."

--Philistine
6.23.2006 4:44pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):

I don't know about you, but I would not want the job of being Ozzie Guillen's sensitivity trainer. . . .

This is a problem that the sensitivity training industry has yet to solve. What do they do with those who are immune to reeducation and self criticism. They can't employ imprisonment and 1torture like the commies could.

In a modern economy where average institutional size (in the free sector) is shrinking anyone can easily find work no matter how politically incorrect they are. They can even make enough money to buy a $1.8 million house in Palm Beach.

Anyone with moderate vocal gifts can't possibly be reeducated by a trainer who is certain to be dumber than a post (or they'd have real work).

And BTW, MLB is a quasi-governmental monopoly operating under a congressional exemption to laws that apply to everyone else.
6.23.2006 4:53pm
Tennessean (mail):
Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought Prof. Post's post was to make a joke about the poor fate of the selected "trainer" and a disdainful remark about the aims and effectiveness of charm school. It wasn't, to my mind, supposed to be an argument condemning private-employer sanctioning generally.

(He may believe such a condemnation is appropriate, but I don't think that is what Post's post is.)
6.23.2006 5:12pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

This is a problem that the sensitivity training industry has yet to solve. What do they do with those who are immune to reeducation and self criticism. They can't employ imprisonment and 1torture like the commies could.


You obviously have never attended a military run EEO sensitivity training session. Yes, you will never change the person but if you make the punishment the equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard they will keep their opinions to themselves in the military.

Subordinates would break out in a sweat if you threatened them with EEO remedial training classes at my Army unit.
6.23.2006 5:13pm
Steve Lubet (mail):
I was born on the West Side of Chicago, but south of Madison Street, so I have been a White Sox fan for over 50 years (including 1959, when they lost the World Series in 6 games). While I am delighted by Ozzie Guillen's success, I am appalled by his public style. I don't care to listen to slurs from people who want my money.

Baseball is an entertainment business, and the commissioner's office (and the White Sox owners) have evidently determined that insulting minorities is bad for business. Good for them.

And let's not ignore the fact that Guillen has caused other problems, including ordering his pitchers to throw at other players (and then defending his order when a rookie pitcher refused to comply).

Guillen has shown repeated bad judgment. Baseball has shown good judgment by disciplining him. That's not reeducation, that's just business.
6.23.2006 5:16pm
it just means gay:
Maybe it shouldn't be socially acceptable to call call someone a fag in public (after all it is quite an insult) but when did the word fag begome so much worse than a lot of other things that we hear in public, and especially from the mouth of Ozzie Guillen?

The interesting point here I think is that the remark was so outrageous not because he insulted the reporter by refering to him as a gay man, but that the remark was offensive to gay people everywhere.

Why should it be so offensive if the remark is not in fact an insult (even if it is in the mind of the offendor)?

You F'n commenter! See, that didn't offend you did it?
6.23.2006 5:47pm
Shangui (mail):
Why should it be so offensive if the remark is not in fact an insult (even if it is in the mind of the offendor)?

It's offensive in the same way that "nigger" and "kike" are to blacks and Jews respectively. This doesn't mean that the people being called these things are embarrassed or ashamed to be black or Jewish, but that the speaker thinks they should be (and is backed by enough of society that there are words for these qualities that are considered offensive) and is thus using the term as an insult. These types of insults are particularly hurtful because they remind the target that an element of society still does not accept them. "Mother fucker" doesn't work in the same way (unless you are saying it to someone who does have sex with his mother). "Fucking commentor" doesn't offend because society doesn't have a history of looking down on people who comment on blogs (yet).
6.23.2006 6:10pm
The Divagator (mail) (www):

And let's not ignore the fact that Guillen has caused other problems, including ordering his pitchers to throw at other players (and then defending his order when a rookie pitcher refused to comply).

I happened to see that game; boy was that a weird event! The rookie threw high and tight, first pitch, but failed to hit Hank Blalock (I think), and subsequently retired the batter on a pop up. Next thing you know Guillen yanks him from the game and chews him out on the bench. There's nothing wrong with ordering your pitcher to plunk a batter, but the stupid part is chewing him out in front of everybody. At that point everyone knew what was up. He's just an all-purpose idiot.
6.23.2006 6:22pm
Ivan (mail) (www):

Of course, as I'm sure DB would point out, as a private organization MLB can do pretty much whatever they want in terms of regulating that kind of speech, can't they?


Actually, that's an interesting question. I wonder if, under the state action doctrine, MLB could be considered a state actor to which the 14th Amendment (incorporating the 1st) applies. I don't know enough about the ties (or whether this has been previously litigated), but the anti-trust exemption and Congressional steroid hearings lead me to think this might be a nonfrivolous argument. At the very least, it could be an interesting lawsuit if Guillen chose to pursue it.
6.23.2006 6:22pm
Goober (mail):
Ivan:

No. Not being regulated by the anti-trust laws is not enough to make one a "state actor." Nor being subpoenaed by Congress.
6.23.2006 6:26pm
JosephSlater (mail):
In what I would consider to be the extremely unlikely event that Major League Baseball and its constituent teams were held to be public employers such that at least some employees had First Amendment rights vis-a-vis their employer, Guillen would still have no chance.

The relevant First Amendment test (Connick, Pickering, etc.) first requires that the employee be commenting on a matter of public interest; it then looks to negative impact on the employer from the speech. Here, calling somebody an "[expletive] faggot" is in no way a comment on a matter of public interest; plus having a coach make slurs against a minority group clearly has a negative impact on the employer.

I only took David Post's posting to mean what Tennessean took it to mean: "gee, imagine what it would be like to try to be a sensitivity trainer for Guillen."

But it is interesting how consistently commentors on this blog worry about unfair discipline of employees if and only if they perceive the discipline to be in response to actions or comments that "aren't PC."
6.23.2006 6:38pm
Rush (mail):
On my 3rd year medical school surgery rotation, I was called a "Fag" numerous times, usually for some minor fuck up I committed. I also answered to "Shithead" and "Dumbass" a few times. Of course I never complained, because you just don't do that as a medical student.
6.23.2006 6:50pm
Rush (mail):
I got my revenge though, I signed the offending superior up for as much gay porn and white supremicist literature as I could, what made it so much better was my tormenter was a liberal jew.
6.23.2006 6:52pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
What do they do with those who are immune to reeducation and self criticism.

In my case, I was banned from mandatory departmental annual consciousness raising seminars.

I enjoyed them. Marxism is a game and I was the only one there who understood the rules.

Why should it be so offensive if the remark is not in fact an insult

Its point is to show rejection of the political line the groups favor. ``You'll have to go to somebody else to get your ass kissed, dude.''

That's what's offensive about it. It takes away their leverage.
6.23.2006 6:56pm
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
That's what's offensive about it. It takes away their leverage.

Yeah, blacks, Jews, and gays sure have all the power, don't they?
6.23.2006 7:57pm
Huh:
Yeah, blacks, Jews, and gays sure have all the power, don't they?

Wait, is it the Log Cabin Republicans in control of all three branches of Government? I honestly forget sometimes in whom the power has been popularly vested. I used to say, "Geez, what's the moral majority going to do when they take over radio &the blogosphere and win enough hearts and minds to gain control over the federal government?"


Will they finally stop bitching about being marginalized by the liberal MSM?

Will they actually follow through on their promise to shrink the size of Government?

Will they make the world a bit safer for the guy who just wants to voice his anti-gay animus in a supportive environment?

I guess not.
6.23.2006 8:34pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
When did we become such a nation of thinned skinned citizens? It seems to me that people take offense too often and sometimes over too little. I can see a store disciplining a salesman for repeatedly insulting customers; it's bad for business. But mouthing off at a reporter? Too bad, toughen up. Now if Ozzie Guillen mouthed off so often he was affecting revenues, I could see cause for concern on the part of the baseball commissioner. Otherwise if Ozzie wants to look like a jerk let him. In time he will suffer for his misbehavior.

Sometimes people don't even know when they are being offensive. Remember when the David Howard (aide to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams) had to resign because Marshall Brown took offense when Howard used the word "niggardly" in a private meeting. Brown should have been fired for having such a limited vocabulary along with limited intelligence. But no, Howard was supposed to divine that Brown would misinterpret what he said. Of course Brown probably has a good excuse: he is a product of the DC public school system.
6.23.2006 8:40pm
Joegator (mail):
Does anyone remember Charles Barkley snapping to a reporter after a dumb question...."Now that's why I hate white people." How many articles by fellow sportswriters were calling for Chuck to get suspended? Would it have been worse if he had said "honkey" or "cracker"?
6.23.2006 8:43pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
What is this country coming too when a Major League manager can't order one of his pitchers to throw a beanball? Next thing they'll make him manage in those cute little soccer shorts. Ever been to a game at Comiskey park? "Fag" is one of the nicer terms thrown at umpires and opposing players. Mariotti broke the cardinal rule of 5th grade insult tossing, letting the opponent know he got to you. I'd have accused Ozzie of giving me the HIV during drunken gay sex while spaced out on "E" and told him to get his greasy spic ass back to mexico before the Federale's arrest him. But thats just me.
6.23.2006 9:19pm
thewagon:
Nobody's addressing the fact that Mariotti behaved like a little baby by refusing to go to the Sox locker room for interviews, because he felt physically threatened by a player there once upon a time. Give me a break. If you write something about a player that pisses them off, you should expect some retaliation.

As for Guillen, I think MLB should just invite every offended person to come to a Sox game and hurl insults right back at him. Seriously, what is it about people these days that makes them think they have a right to not be insulted or offended? I don't fault MLB for fining him, because they're a business, and depend on fan support for revenue. I fault our society for thinking harsh, hurtful words should be eliminated wholecloth from society. Fight back, instead of just whining to the teacher.

And, there's nothing at all wrong with ordering a pitcher to bean a batter; it's a part of the game.
6.23.2006 9:46pm
Shawn Levasseur (mail) (www):
You had to love Guillen's apology. It was purely about the use of the word "fag". Not a single good word toward Mariotti.

He even called him a s*** in his apology. Gotta admire a grudge like that.
6.23.2006 10:04pm
PoohPooh Bear:
And how about USA Today's on-line headline for this story? "Guillen fined for racial slur". You had to read the article to find out he made a disparaging remark about sexual preference. Talk about lunacy.
6.23.2006 10:14pm
patrick (mail):
Hey, when is Hollywood going to fine the cast of just about every PG and above rated movie for using the term fag or gay in an insulting manner? Heck, I remember watching "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and the running joke throughout was the "You're so gay, you ...." (of which the funniest was, "How do I know you are gay?, Because you like Coldplay").
6.23.2006 10:42pm
five_wheels:
For what it's worth, Guillen did not make his remarks "in public" per se. They came during a pregame bull session with reporters (not an official press conference) that he believed was off the record. This might affect your thinking or it might not, but it's not as if the insult was supposed to be an announcement for public consumption.

If you google *Mariotti Guillen "off the record"* you will find multiple references to this.
6.24.2006 1:44am
MDJD2B (mail):
On my 3rd year medical school surgery rotation, I was called a "Fag" numerous times, usually for some minor fuck up I committed. I also answered to "Shithead" and "Dumbass" a few times. Of course I never complained, because you just don't do that as a medical student.

Aren't general surgery residents great? And their favorite topic of conversation is to disparage doctors from every other specialty. My informal ongoing poll of medical students and my OB/GYN residents (who have been medical students all over the world) is that this is a universal trait of general surgeons.
6.24.2006 10:49am
David Davenport (mail):
The New Testament is anti-gay, so shouldn't the New Testament be banned from public places?
6.24.2006 3:17pm
Hoosier:
My White Sox-loving "friend" from grad school calls me a "Cubs fan from a fag suburb" every time the opportunity arises. So I don't think the problem is confined to one individual. This seems to be a disorder of Southside baseball fans.

My best friend is gay. I love him like abrother, and hate to see him abused. For his sake--for the sake of all of us--PLEASE root for the Cubs!
6.26.2006 2:22am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Looks like you have an ally in this one, David: "This is a free country. If he wants to use a lewd term, he should be able to use a lewd term. Can't you use a lewd term in America if you want?"

thewagon: Seriously, what is it about people these days that makes them think they have a right to not be insulted or offended?

Hey thewagon, your mom's a slut.
6.26.2006 7:03pm