Talking to a group of 20 reporters before a game on Tuesday, Guillen let it fly against sports columnist Jay Mariotti: "What a piece of shit he is, fucking fag."
Aparently, last year in New York Guillen also called someone else a fag and a child molester equating the two - according to the column.
When Couch called the Venezuelan-born baseball player after the game to tell him that he'd be writing a column on the issue, Guillen told Couch that he was not a homophobic man, that he had gay friends and was even planning to go to the Gay Games in Chicago (he also told him he loved Madonna and the WNBA). He also said that calling someone a 'fag' in Venezuela had a different connotation than in the United States and that he'd meant to say that Mariotti was "not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing].''
Aparently in the past, of altercations he has had with other players, Guillen also claimed that in Venezuela "We take care of [stuff] by hitting people.''
In his column, Couch asks for a suspension and an apology:
The issue is that Guillen said the wrong thing, and he does it often and it never sticks to him. That's just Ozzie, we hear. And the Sox tend to chuckle about this stuff, as if we can just forgive him. Why? Because English is his second language?Question is, is Guillen right? Do the words "maricón" or "marica," "fag" or "faggot," mean a different thing in Venezuela? Does it matter that he's lived in the United States for more than 25 years? I know that people who come from Medellin, where I was born, use the word "marica" for everything, sometimes as a term of endearment (as in "Hey, marica, what's up" or "Marica! We just lost the world cup!"). It shocks some people when they first hear it but, in that context, the word has lost the homophobic intent. But equating gays with pedophiles, that probably points out where Guillen's true intent lies and it sounds to me as if he does need to apologize, even if he likes Madonna.
Guillen is not dumb. Let's not insult him. He knows what he's saying, and he certainly knows that it's not acceptable. He has been in this country for a quarter of a century.
This isn't about Guillen's language or his culture. He has lived in this culture long enough to know. It's Guillen.
It was hurtful.
UPDATE (Comments made by Guillen before tonight's game as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times and the AP):
I shouldn't have mentioned the name that was mentioned, but I'm not going to back off of Jay. The word I used, I should have used something different. A lot of people's feelings were hurt and I didn't mean it that way. Jay, I think I made this guy a lot of money and he's famous. If not for Ozzie Guillen, no one would have heard of him. If I hurt anybody with what I called him, I apologize.
I've been here for 20 years, but people have to know that I grew up in a different country. That's not an excuse. I called the guy that name, but, no, that's the way I grew up, that's the way I've learned that language.
I don't have an excuse to say that, I have been here enough to know you can use so many words in the States. That's not an excuse, but I wasn't calling people that. I was calling him that.