Ozzie Guillen knows what Joakim Noah’s going through
By Daryl Van Schouwen firstname.lastname@example.org May 23, 2011 8:06PM
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen talks to his players after they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 in a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: June 25, 2011 12:33AM
ARLINGTON, Texas — White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been there. He can empathize with Bulls center Joakim Noah for losing control of his tongue in the heat of the moment.
‘‘You have to be careful of
what you say, when you say it and how you say it,’’ Guillen said before the Sox played the Texas Rangers on Monday ‘‘I say that from experience.’’
Guillen also knows this: It was a bad choice of words.
‘‘That’s not a good word in this country,’’ he said, referring to the
homosexual slur Noah directed at a fan attending the Bulls-Heat game Sunday in Miami. ‘‘Even though everybody says it, it’s not a good word.’’
During the 2006 season, Guillen was fined and ordered to undergo sensitivity training for using a similar derogatory term when referring to former Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti.
‘‘Unfortunately, that happens to athletes and to people . . . to us,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘I bet you a lot of people say that out on the street, and they don’t get in trouble. I went through it. It’s a very painful moment because sometimes you regret what you say.
‘‘But in the meanwhile, nobody took a look at why he said it. He’s not going to say that because he’s crazy. Maybe some guy was playing with him and made him mad. And the first thing that comes to your mind is that word, even if you don’t want to. . . .
‘‘It’s a mistake you regret. You have to be careful what you do and what you say when you’re an athlete and you’re a public figure. . . . That’s the part I don’t like about
being a public figure, that people take
advantage of that. . . . And we’re the ones that get punished, paying fines, getting embarrassed and being in front of the TV saying, ‘I apologize to people, I don’t mean it, I’m sorry.’ Those people put us on the spot to say what we say.
Unfortunately, that happened.’’
Guillen said he is sure Noah was goaded by a comment made to him. The incident occurred
after an early second foul sent him to the bench.
‘‘I think Noah is so intense, he has so much passion for the game,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘Sometimes you’re better off kicking a guy’s butt than calling him names. At least it’s worth it.’’