The second week of April is usually pretty slow, but this one had more than its usual share of drama.
Other than Bobby Petrino, there was also the saga of Ozzie Guillen in Miami. He offended thousands of Cuban Americans when he said that he respected Fidel Castro for outliving his many assassination attempts. The Marlins are riding an all-out PR blitz in South Florida, and the last thing they wanted to do was tick off the predominant ethnic group in the city.
Many people wanted him fired and many still do. The Marlins had to do something, so they forced him to apologize and hit him with a five-game suspension.
I get that. You have to show the people you are trying to attract that you care about their hurt feelings. I also get the importance of Guillen’s apology, however sincere or forced it might have been. I get the Cuban-Americans’ hatred for Castro–he’s responsible for plenty of injustices.
What I don’t get is why people would get so worked up over something said by someone like Ozzie Guillen. We know that he likes to talk. We know that he doesn’t tend to put much thought into much of that talk. He’s a baseball coach admiring the way someone who’s despised managed to stay alive.
Yes, it was a totally stupid thing to say, but the more worked up you get, the more you gloss over the whole “stupid” part. People don’t usually take their social cues from former athletes known to have mouths like loose cannons, so why start now? I didn’t like hearing that Tony Larussa and Albert Pujols accepted Glenn Beck’s invitation to show up at his rally in Washington, but that’s politics and they’re baseball, so I let it go.
Is Ozzie Guillen the first person to show respect for someone detestable? I don’t know, Jesse James has a Facebook page, Al Capone has an online fan club and Scarface, the Godfather and Goodfellas are some of the most popular movies of all time. At the core it’s all really, really wrong but nobody ever looks at the core.
Bottom line: Castro is hated because of what he’s done to people who didn’t say the things he wanted them to say. The first thing he took from any of his subjects was their right to free speech, and that’s also the first thing that was taken away from Ozzie Guillen! He was stupid, he was uninformed and he was talking straight out of his butt, but now he’s sorry, so let him be a human being and learn from his mistakes.
I’m Andy Fales, and that’s what’s bugging me.