Earlier this week Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sounded off.
But this time it was about something highly relevant. Guillen suggested Latino players are being taken advantage of by Major League Baseball and they are not treated the way Japanese players are.
Guillen issued the following about the use of interpreters for Japanese players when compared to Latino players: "Very bad. I say, why do we have Japanese interpreters and we don't have a Spanish one. I always say that. Why do they have that privilege and we don't?"
Just like most comments of this nature they get attention initially then they are quietly swept under the rug.
Yes, there's more.
Guillen continued, "Don't take this wrong, but they take advantage of us. We bring a Japanese player and they are very good and they bring all these privileges to them. We bring a Dominican kid ... go to the minor leagues, (expletive.) Good luck. And it's always going to be like that. It's never going to change. But that's the way it is."
The latter comment was the most circulated portion of Guillen's comments but he said much more that wasn't disseminated. He issued the following about his own team: "It's just not the White Sox, its baseball," he added. "We have a pitching coach that is Latino, but the pitching coach can't talk about hitting with a Latino guy and that's the way it is and we have to overcome all those [obstacles]. You know why? Because we're hungry, we grow up the right way, we come here to compete."
Guillen is correct in his assessment. He's not hiding from the microphone like most people who are in a position of authority. Nothing wrong with rocking the boat when it needs to be rocked.
It's true: Latino players are being taken advantage of. What's transpiring in Major League Baseball to Latino players is a reflection of society. Look at what's going on in Arizona right now with Senate Bill 1070. There's legislation that's clearly racist but Latinos and other supporters are fighting vigorously against the law because it unfairly targets Latinos. This measure simply creates more of a police state that will induce even more discrimination against Latinos.
Despite the latter over the years Latinos have made huge strides in baseball. They comprise just over 30 percent of the league as players. They have more opportunities then ever in ownership, upper management and as field managers. Yet disparities still exist and they should be addressed -- Guillen is using his platform to do just that.
Guillen has been involved in Major League baseball for nearly 3 decades. He's seen and heard a lot over the years. He's raising issues that Major League Baseball avoids. If there's an injustice there's nothing wrong bringing it to the masses.
Even more appalling is the lack of African-American representation in the Major Leagues. Just 9 percent of the players are African-American. Baseball hasn't truly embraced the true essence of what diversity is really all about. Also, Major League Baseball spends a lot f money developing Latino players yet fails to develop African-American talent.
In many cases like Guillen referenced, Latino players, compared to African-American and white players, will play for less money, work hard, and not put up a fuss because they have to take care of their families back home. They won't rock the boat and the baseball establishment knows this. Hence this creates an atmosphere for players to be exploited.
African-Americans in upper-management and the players don't speak out. Those in positions of power are seemingly content with having the game become extinct in African-American neighborhoods. When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the Major Leagues 63 years ago he was the first and now the game has 9 percent of African-Americans are currently playing the game.
In any event Gullien hit a walk-off homer with the bases loaded with his comments. Good for him speaking out. Good for him to put Major League Baseball on notice. More importantly good for him in having the strength to consistently speak his mind when others fear rocking the boat.
We need more boat rockers.
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