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Political Persecution In Sports - Ozzie Guillen Not The First To Learn That Speech Is Not Free In America

Updated on April 12, 2012
Ozzie Guillen
Ozzie Guillen
Rashard Mendenhall
Rashard Mendenhall

Ozzie Giullen recently learned that freedom of speech in America isn't all it is cracked up to be, sure he has the right to voice his political beliefs, but he isn't protected against being persecuted by his employers, the media or anyone else for that matter. The Miami Marlins have suspended Guillen for 5 games, for making a remark in an interview that he "loved and admired Fidel Castro". What makes this particularly disturbing is that the remarks were simply an honest answer to a personal question, and not a statement issued by Guillen at a press conference to further his political views.

This isn't the first time that a sports figure has found themselves in hot water for making remarks that are considered to be politically controversial. Last year Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall openly criticized the American public for cheering in the streets when news broke that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, saying "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."

Following his comments, his endorsement deal with Chamion was abruptly terminated, seeing him lose a small fortune for voicing his opinion on a controversial subject. So while Ozzie Guillen and Rashard Mendenhal are being unfairly persecuted by their employers for their political opinions, we are left wondering if Americans actually have the right to free speech? After all, if they were facing fines, suspensions or termination because of their religion, their sexual preference, or their race, they would be protected by law, but when it comes to politics, you can and will be persecuted if you speak out against the establishment.

On the other side of the coin, there are those in sports who are viewed as heroes for voicing their controversial opinions on religion and politics, just look at Tim Tebow. There is a big difference between being a hispanic or black American speaking out against the establishment, and an outspoken white Christian conservative that is famous for his onfield prayer sessions and locker room sermons. Not everybody is thrilled with Tebow using his fame as a football player to preach his religious views, but it seems that in America, Tim Tebow has the right to his opinion, while Ozzie Guillen and Rashard Mendenhall do not?

For those of you who thought that America was a free country, think again. Americans are losing their freedom, their right to privacy, and are facing a growing threat to their civil liberties. Not only do you have to watch what you say, but it has recently been reported that people are being asked to provide the password for their Twitter and Facebook accounts in job interviews. While you may not agree with the views of Ozzie Guillen and Rahsard Mendenhall, you should realize that if they are not allowed the freedom to express their views, America is no longer the free country that so many people have given their lives to defend over the years.

What Do You Think?

Should Ozzie Guillen & Rashard Mendenhall Be Punished For Voicing Their Opinions?

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    • profile image
      Author 5 years ago from Vancouver / Bangkok


      In my opinion, it hurts the company's image when they back out of a contract when you say something that some people might not agree with. I hear what you are saying about the poll, and I admit it, it is slanted. It sounds like you want it slanted in a different manner, to allow you to deny the right to free speech, yet still consider America a free country. It is my opinion that you can't have your cake and eat it too, if America is free, then having a political opinion should be your right, and you should be protected from suffering financially because others don't like what you believe.

    • ata1515 profile image

      ata1515 5 years ago from Buffalo, New York.

      Ozzie Guillen should not have been suspended for saying his political beliefs in a non-public forum, but that is not to say that a company should continue to endorse players that it feels are not representing the companies values. Rashard Mendenhall made a comment that most American's do not agree with, and it may have hurt the company to continue his endorsement.

      Also, when you make a poll you should endeavor to make both answers opinion free. The way your poll is designed is particularly slanted to get the person to agree to No. Your question is should they be punished, yet your options are they have no right to voice their opinion or America is a free country, thereby creating a situation in which the question cannot be answered.