A day after White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen referred to him with a homosexual slur, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jay Mariotti comes out swinging, pushing for a two-week suspension for Guillen.
Whatever you think of him, give Mariotti credit, he writes that he’s not the story here, which is true even if he actually does end up making himself the story. But in chronicling Guillen’s history with these transgressions, he makes what perhaps could be an interesting point for debate.
“Twice in less than a year, Guillen has dropped derogatory homosexual terms in his public dealings as White Sox manager. Last year at Yankee Stadium, he claimed to be greeting a friend warmly when he said, ‘Hey, everybody, this guy's a homosexual! He's a child molester!’ Two New York-area columnists took offense, as they should have, and so did I -- the only writer in Chicago who did, which is often how it works in a town softer and more politically driven by the sports franchises than a genuinely tough, independent sports media town such as Boston.”
OK, first of all, Guillen is nuts. Second of all, if we are indeed a “genuinely tough, independent sports media town” why on earth did Paxton Crawford’s admission of steroid use come as such a surprise yesterday?
If needles were flying all over the Red Sox clubhouse, as Crawford attests in his first-person piece in this week’s ESPN The Magazine, why are we just learning about it five years later? If it was “everywhere” as Crawford says in this morning’s Globe, shouldn’t one of the “genuinely tough, independent” media members have broken the story?
Whether it be ignorance or turning our backs, it is just the latest example in how the media genuinely failed in this whole saga. Dramatically failed. The Manny Alexander steroids story a year earlier should have opened the door and our eyes. Instead, we ridiculed Jose Canseco's claims that steroids were everywhere in baseball and closed it just as quickly as we ignored it initially.
In today’s Globe piece by Gordon Edes and Chris Snow:
``You didn't know?" Crawford asked, surprise in his voice.
No, the reporter said. How widespread was it? Were there a lot of players?
``Yup," he said.
Five, 10, 20, 50, how many?
``It was just everywhere," he said.
Did this begin in minor league camp, in big league camp?
``So, anyway," Crawford said, ``it's kind of a sore subject, bro. That's it."
And he hung up.
Tim Wakefield, a teammate of Crawford from 2000-01 called the story ridiculous. Jason Varitek, also a teammate, said the admission sounded difficult to believe. But after all we’ve learned lately, what sounds more difficult to believe is that steroids weren’t rampant. If they were used widely in one clubhouse, it's pretty likely they were used widely in 29 others, too.