Tuesday, June 27, 2006

There's a 5th amendment, too!

“I had the right to remain silent…but I didn’t have the ability.”
-Ron White, comedian.

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen stepped in it recently when using the homophobic slur “fag” to describe Chicago Sun Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti. The subsequent punishment handed down by Major League Baseball was a fine and orders to attend sensitivity training. In response, Guillen , a native of Venezuela, issued the old non-apology apology “I’m-sorry-if-anyone-was-offended” line. But his reasoning for using such an offensive term in the first place was classic.

“In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country.''

Oh sure, it’s the fault of the English language for hijacking that word. I suppose next you will ridicule Chevrolet for making a car called “Nova”, which translates to “No Go” in Spanish.

But with any controversy, interesting alliances can be formed

Someone managed to chip out of an ice block find former MLB pitcher John Rocker, who himself was ordered to attend sensitivity training (in addition to paying a $500 fine) after his shockingly offensive comments in early 2000. Not surprisingly, Rocker came out in defense of Guillen.

"This is a free country. If he wants to use a lewd term, he should be able to use a lewd term," Rocker said. "Can't you use a lewd term in America if you want?"

Don’t you just love the old “free speech” knee-jerk rhetoric? Yes, it is true. We do have the right to speak freely, according to the first amendment to the Constitution. But the spirit of the 1st amendment was intended to allow citizens to speak out against the government without fear of retribution. Certain exceptions, of course, include slander, threatening the life of the President of the United States, etc.

Last time I checked, Major League Baseball is not a body of government. It is a business. Therefore, if any employee under the umbrella of MLB does something which would potentially harm said business, that employee is subject to whatever punishment that employer sees fit. Can you imagine if a McDonald’s executive denounced the quality of the Big Mac? He would have the right to say such a thing, certainly. But no one would decry McDonald’s if they reprimanded or even dismissed that employee.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I’d rather be silent and assumed a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Guillen and Rocker have been doing plenty of speaking recently.

As a result, all doubt has been removed as to what complete buffoons they really are.

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