The Irony and the Ozzie

Irony is all around us; it’s like rain on your wedding day. It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid.  That’s right.  If Alanis Morissette can understand the concept of irony so too can the Miami Marlins.              We were all shocked and appalled when Ozzie Guillen told Time Magazine last week “I love Fidel Castro … I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherfucker is still here”.  For the manager of a team that plays a camouflaged boat ride away from Cuba in a shiny new stadium set in the urban “Little Havana” section of Miami, this obviously wasn’t well-taken.  As Guillen and his Marlins dropped two of three from the Phillies earlier in the week, the team’s brass gathered to decide upon an appropriate response to their new manager’s comments.              Before I get to my main point, let me educate the reader a little about Fidel Castro’s Cuba.  While in office, Castro turned his country into a suppressive communist state.  While the physical manifestations of his regime may not be clear at first glance, neither will they be any more transparent after a second, third, or fourth look-see.  Reason? Cuba is censored more than Wal-Mart’s cd aisle.  In 2008, Cuba had 28 journalists in prison. Special permits are required to use the internet for the common people.  All other forms of media and entertainment are heavily censored.  Think Hunger Games, without Lenny Kravitz or Woody Harrelson.              NRA people can kiss their rifles and the religious can thump their bibles, but the freedoms that I can’t live without are speech and the press.              So, the Miami Marlins decide to suspend Ozzie 5 games for his comments about Castro.              Castro throws a journalist in jail for writing something.  The Marlins suspend Guillen for saying something.  On a much, much smaller scale the Marlins are suppressing free speech.  They are not a government; they are a business, but this only underlines the growing power of corporate America.  If the Marlins knew they wouldn’t lose anyone’s money, they wouldn’t even address the Castro comments.              As I hope I have expressed, I do not agree with Castro, do not like him, and have empathy for those in socialist Cuba.  However, the punishment for Guillen’s comments should be from his peers and the world around him.  Why should a man’s livelihood be taken away for a political statement?  As we go more and more to left of the political dial, where is the tipping point of acceptable speech?  Saying I love Obama is okay, but if you take it to another a level and say I love Nelson Mandela, is that not okay?              If I offended you by this column, good; you have a right to be.  People have the right to offend and the right to be offended.  God Bless the USA.