Friday, June 23, 2006

Selig sends Guillen to school

Selig sends Guillen to school
Copyright by The Chicago Sun Times
June 23, 2006

BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter

Ozzie Guillen had no problem with Major League Baseball fining him an undisclosed amount Thursday and ordering the White Sox manager to attend sensitivity training for offensive comments made toward Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti this week.

Then again, Guillen still was looking for an explanation of what sensitivity training actually means.

Guillen had about a two-minute phone conversation with baseball commissioner Bud Selig and came away feeling like he was treated fairly.

"I don't even know what [Selig] was saying,'' Guillen said when asked about the sensitivity training. "I have to ask the [Sox public-relations] department what I have to do. I might have to sit with [third-base coach] Joey Cora a couple of hours before the game and try to learn.

"I'm not going to change. One thing I'm going to make clear is I apologize to the community, but to Jay? No chance. This thing is on and on for good.''

Upset because he feels like Mariotti is "not accountable,'' Guillen called the writer "a piece of s---'' and "a f------ fag'' in a tirade Tuesday.

While Guillen initially explained that in his country of Venezuela, the word "fag'' has to do with courage and not sexual orientation, he apologized Wednesday for using that word. While the Sox felt Guillen's apology was enough and didn't warrant any punishment, Selig disagreed.

"On Tuesday night, Ozzie Guillen used language that is offensive and completely unacceptable,'' Selig said in a statement. "Baseball is a social institution with responsibility to set appropriate tone and example. Conduct or language that reflects otherwise will not be tolerated. The use of slurs embarrasses the individual, the club and the game.''

Mariotti said the punishment was not severe enough.

"I'm viewing this not as the subject of a slur, but as a sports columnist,'' he said. "And in regard to baseball justice, this seems awfully soft. It's hard for me to believe a purpose pitch would warrant a one-game suspension and a slur that hurts millions of people would merit only a fine and sensitivity training.

"As far as it being 'on and on for good,' this shows me that anger management seems to be an issue, as well.''

Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf addressed the situation Thursday in an interview with WBBM-AM (780).

"There's no excuse for his choice of words,'' Reinsdorf said of Guillen. "Although I understand in his country it might have a different meaning, he's been here a long time and he has to understand how people react.

"You have to separate that from the issue of the person he's talking about because that person is, indeed, a piece of garbage. So I understand why he was frustrated. But if he wants to attack somebody who attacked him, he has to do it in a politically correct way.''

As far as what type of sensitivity training awaits Guillen, Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert explained the process.

"I'll use myself as an example,'' Reifert said. "If I have an issue around the house, we have EAP [Employee Assistance Program] people that we can call 24 hours a day. So you call these folks, say I'm having an issue with whatever, they'll connect you with a professional specific to that issue.

"That's what we'll do. We'll go to our EAP folks, and they'll connect in turn to a sensitivity course. At this point, I don't know the particulars.''

Guillen kept the commissioner's office busy Thursday, also getting suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount for an incident in the Sox' 20-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday in which reliever David Riske was deemed to have thrown intentionally at the Cardinals' Chris Duncan.

Because both dugouts had been warned before Duncan was plunked, Guillen automatically received the one-game punishment, which he served Thursday night.

Riske was suspended for three games but said he is appealing it.

It was the back-and-forth with Mariotti, however, that remained the hot topic at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I went to the dictionary and learned different ways to say stuff to people,'' Guillen said. "I got a couple of things to say in a couple of days to Jay Mariotti, and he might not like it. I'm going to continue to be the same way. I'm not going to change.''

As far as when and where Guillen will begin the sensitivity training, the manager didn't have a guess.

"If they want me to do it, make sure it's after 12 o'clock,'' Guillen said. "I don't get up until after 12 o'clock.''


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