For every modicum of progress made in gay men and women feeling accepted in the sports world, it only takes a single blow to knock the wind out of our headway. On Tuesday, it was Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen who stole this dubious honor.
Reacting to a column by the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Jay Mariotti about Guillen’s handling of relief pitcher Sean Tracey, the Sox’s manager said, “What a piece of shit he is, fucking fag.” (Mariotti was covering the NBA Finals and wasn’t there to witness the comments.) Fellow Sun-Times columnist Greg Couch addressed the issue and demanded MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to suspend Guillen over the use of a “hurtful homophobic” term. He also asked Giullen to defend himself.
Guillen’s excuse? In his native country of Venezuela, using the word “fag” isn’t offensive, apparently: “I don’t have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country.” Oh, and he also has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to attend Chicago’s Gay Games. Nevermind the explicit meaning Guillen meant when he used the word “fag”: that columnist Mariotti “was not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing].” Because anyone who’s got gay friends and enjoys striking a pose could never say something homophobic.