So Ozzie Guillen opens his mouth and something offensive comes out of. Suprising? No. People like Ozzie Guillen are rare in the sports world, as it’s easier to just throw-out cliched answers. Reporters dream of an intereviewee like Guillen, but the media also are the willing to eat their young, if it gives them a story.
Using the word fag in describing someone in a negative fashion is pretty common, especially on the East Coast. Just like retard, the word fag has been coopted to have a wider meaning than the original slur it embodied. This doesn’t mean it’s not hurtful and offensive to other many people’s ears, but there should be some context explored before complete condemnation is served.
As a standup comic, I’m in the frontlines of fighting extreme political correctness. Many comics use words like fag or retard for great effect and I support their right to do it. Having said that, I don’t use words like these, as they don’t feel right coming out of my mouth. I don’t like comedy that makes targets of people with mental and physical handicaps, as I feel these people didn’t have a choice in the matter. My favorite thing to do in my standup act is to expose the rich and famous as frauds, as I feel these are the kinds of people who need to be knocked down a notch.
It’s not like I don’t offend some audience members in my show, though, as I purposely use shock tactics to elicit a response. One part of my set I discuss how homophobia is ridiculous. In this part of the act, the main target are people who are close-minded about other’s lifestyle choices. At the same time, I have a couple of lines which poke fun at gays. I do this also in regards to race and gender, as I feel that if you are an adult, you should be able to take some ribbing.
Ozzie has used as his defense that being from Venezeula, he has a different thought process on using the word. While I do think there is some truth to this point, I think a better defense for him would be that he has spent most of his adult life (since the age of 16) living in baseball clubhouses. In this super-macho, extremely jocular atmosphere, a word like fag is at home as the snap of a towel. This doesn’t make it right, but I doubt many in the game were offended at all by his use of the word.
I don”t believe Ozzie Guillen is homophobic. He has mentioned that he has friends in the gay community and while he wasn’t the most articulate in expressing his support for them, I do believe it was sincere. Ozzie has played with gay teammates during his time in baseball and I’m guessing that these players would support him as being a good guy. Of course, the world of team sports seems to still be years away from a player coming out of the closet. From my point of view, this is a more important issue than if a manager calls a pompous sportswriter an offensive name.
Let me repeat, Ozzie Guillen shouldn’t use the word fag. He’s in an influential position, as manager of the defending world champs, so his words do have some power. Let’s keep in mind, though, that a person’s actions should be considered before they are thrown to the wolves. I mean, if Ozzie Guillen was a complete homophobe, do you think he would shave his mustache the way he does? (Come on people, lighten up.)