Why don’t they have Guillen’s back?

By Joe Cowley
Updated: August 4, 2010

DETROIT — From Curt Schilling to Eduardo Perez, Bobby Valentine to Nomar Garciaparra, former major-league players both of Latin descent and born right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. all publicly came out in support of the statements made by Ozzie Guillen.

His own White Sox organization? The same organization he has professed time and time again that he would ”die for”?

Well, cut them some slack, they were a little busy. After all, cleaning the tires of the bus they used to run over their seventh-year manager required a bit of time.

Even more embarrassing for ”The Club” was the fact that it refused to identify the driver of that bus Tuesday.

”The statement came on behalf of the entire White Sox organization, which is why there is no specific attribution, and we will not disclose who was involved with authorship,” Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert wrote in a text when asked about putting a name to the release.

It was in the wake of Guillen’s comments about the treatment of Latin players before the game Sunday that the Sox issued ”the statement,” with fun little shots such as this: ”This is an issue Ozzie Guillen obviously feels very passionately about. Ozzie certainly has his own experiences as a player, coach and manager, and is entitled to his own opinions, but the Chicago White Sox believe his views are incorrect.”

OK, stop there. Can someone’s views actually be incorrect if they are life experiences that then become that person’s opinion?


”The White Sox do not agree with the assumptions Ozzie made in his comments yesterday. … Ozzie may not have been fully aware of all of the industry-wide efforts made by Major League Baseball and its clubs to help our players succeed in the transition to professional baseball, no matter the level of play or their country of origin.”

Sox should have said …

Knowing Guillen, he probably wasn’t. Then again, that’s not the point. Why not come out as an organization and say something like, ”While we acknowledge some of the statements made by Ozzie Guillen were inaccurate, we have spoken to him, had an open dialogue and understand where he was coming from. At the end of the day, Guillen is the manager of this ballclub, and we stand behind his passion in this area.”

Guillen was asked specifically about the organizational statement Tuesday, and he again continued to show a maturity with how he responds when being called out that he didn’t display in his earlier managerial days — or simply what is referred to as ”The Scarface Days,” when any statement against Guillen became a profanity-laced rebuttal.

”I don’t exactly know what the White Sox were thinking,” Guillen said of the statement. ”But I know in this organization, it’s one of the cleanest and best organizations in the game. To me, they do the right thing.”

“Make sure, ‘Hey, this is not us. This is about Ozzie.’ I respect that. Like I said, this organization is not about me. We have thousands of people work for us. They don’t have anything to do with my comments. I don’t mind that.

”They might think I was incorrect. I know I wasn’t incorrect. I don’t mind that. I don’t feel guilty about anything. I don’t feel like I owe anybody an apology.”

Guillen was wrong in one aspect, however: This organization is about Ozzie Guillen.

Before becoming manager prior to the 2004 season, the Sox were irrelevant — even in their own town. Guillen not only made them champions, he made them recognizable. It was for those very reasons that the organization hired him — his outspokenness. Yet when that outspokenness wakes Bud Selig from his nap, they pushed Guillen away on an island.

That is what’s being lost in this.

No lack of attention

Guillen at least sparked debate and dialogue. That was evident by members of the national media wanting to speak with him Tuesday morning.

It wasn’t because they wanted to watch a doubleheader in Detroit, that’s for sure.

At one point in his 25-minute interview session, Guillen was asked why this had blown up like it had, especially because it was not the first time he has stated those feelings.

”I’m Ozzie Guillen, bro, that’s what it is,” Guillen said. ”Maybe the message was right. The messenger is the wrong one.”

No, the messenger was just fine.

The organization that has opened its doors for a reality show and brags about being a ”family,” that’s an entirely different matter.

Suddenly, they look cowardly.

If you’re going to try to kill the messenger, at least look him in the eyes next time.