DETROIT (AP) - Ozzie Guillen says his comments about Latin American baseball players have been taken out of context.
The outspoken manager of the White Sox said over the weekend that Asian players are given privileges in the United States that Latinos are not afforded, including English translators. He also said he’s the “only one” in baseball teaching young players from Latin America to stay away from performance-enhancing drugs and that Major League Baseball doesn’t care about the issue.
The White Sox team issued a statement Monday saying Guillen was wrong, though he was entitled to his opinion. In Detroit on Tuesday, Guillen said he didn’t mean to criticize Major League baseball or his team.
“I was explaining to people how hard it is for them (Latin American players) to come here and play,” he said.
Guillen said his comments were taken out of context.
“I think people out there have to listen to from the beginning of the conversation,” Guillen said.
He added that the White Sox have taped his sessions with the media for the last two years and that he talked to both general manager Kenny Williams and owner Jerry Reinsdorf about his comments. He said the rebuke from the team didn’t bother him.
“I think, to me, they do the right thing,” Guillen said. “This organization is not about me … If they don’t think I was right, a lot of people have different opinions.”
Each year, Guillen said, he tells the White Sox minor league Latin American players that they need to learn how to speak English, along with warning them about drugs. Guillen, a Venezuelan, said the White Sox have an English instructor for young Latino prospects.
The Detroit Tigers also have English teachers and a staff to help with the transition for Latin American prospects in their Lakeland, Fla., minor league complex and in Venezuela and Dominican Republic, according to manager Jim Leyland and director of baseball media relations Brian Britten.
Tigers second baseman Carlos Guillen, no relation to Ozzie Guillen, said he agrees with Ozzie Guillen’s original statements.
“We’ve got what, 20 percent of big league players from South America? Do we have teachers?” Carlos Guillen asked.
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