Guillen to attend sensitivity training
Manager regrets word choice, but still fired up
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen talked to the media in the White Sox dugout for 40 minutes prior to Thursday's series finale against St. Louis, and basically announced that he wasn't going to change.
He's going to remain the same outspoken voice of the White Sox that he has been for the past three years as the team's manager, to some extent. He intends to continue waging his battle against Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti.
But Guillen certainly plans to be more careful with his choice of words in the future.
The White Sox manager actually made these same points prior to Wednesday's game. They were reinforced Thursday after Commissioner Bud Selig fined Guillen an undisclosed amount and ordered him to attend sensitivity training for making offensive comments in a media session before Tuesday's series opener.
The comment in question centered on Guillen referring to Mariotti with a slur to describe a homosexual. Guillen apologized to anyone he offended in the gay community once again on Thursday, and added that he not only understood Selig's decision but completely expected it.
"I think they did a good job," said Guillen, dressed in street clothes, talking about Selig and Major League Baseball. "The commissioner [does] what he [has] to do. They don't agree with what I say. Me either. I agree with what I say about Jay.
"The commissioner did what was great for baseball. Mariotti and his partners should be happy. I talked to the commissioner and I expect them to move on and continue with the season. I don't regret what I say about Jay. I regret what I say about the community."
Selig and Guillen talked briefly by phone Thursday afternoon, where the commissioner expressed his disappointment and displeasure with Guillen's comment. Guillen said that White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf also reprimanded him for his word choice, as both his boss and his friend, and completely agreed with Selig's decision.
The fine from Selig comes along with a one-game suspension for Guillen and a second fine in relation to the beanball incident with David Riske and the Cardinals late in Tuesday's contest. Riske was suspended for three games for his role, although the reliever is appealing the decision.
"I hope it's not too much money," said Guillen with a smile of the impending fine from Selig. "I'll be working two or three weeks without getting paid."
In a statement from Major League Baseball, Selig explained his reasoning behind the fine and the decision for the sensitivity training.
"On Tuesday night, Ozzie Guillen used language that is offensive and completely unacceptable," Selig said. "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."
Even in the midst of this serious situation, Guillen brought a little levity to the proceedings when the topic of the sensitivity training was brought up. Guillen honestly explained that he had no idea what the training entailed, and then added that he hoped the sessions would start after noon because he doesn't get up before that time of the day.
Scott Reifert, the White Sox vice president of communications, quickly added that there was no set amount of classes for the training sessions or a time frame given for them to be completed. The White Sox would handle the schedule of said sessions for Guillen.
"The commissioner's office has asked us to set it up," Reifert said. "What we will do is we will call EAP, employee assistance people, and they are on staff.
"If I had an issue, I could go to the EAP folks and they would connect us through their network to who we needed to talk to. We will go to them and tell them we need to find a sensitivity trainer and they will recommend someone. We would like to find someone who is bilingual, but we haven't made those calls yet."
The bilingual trainer squelched Guillen's slightly tongue-in-cheek worries about not having a strong enough grasp of the English language to understand everything the person had to say. But Guillen clearly understood that his slur used in his diatribe against Mariotti is and always will be unacceptable, even as the feud with Mariotti burns on.
"It's not good for baseball because I put Bud Selig in a spot he's not supposed to be," Guillen said. "It's done and hopefully we will learn from this and move on.
"I learned one thing [that is] real important in my career. Don't talk to anyone off the record. I trust a lot of people here because I [have] called Jay worse names than that. A lot worse.
"But we are in the country where you have to be careful what you say," Guillen added. "I have to pick my friends and who are the people I can trust. And that's it. You might hear less quotes from me than in the past. I think Ozzie won't be the friendly person he was in the past and that will hurt a lot of people."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.