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April 22, 2012

Ozzie Guillen and Freedom of Speech

A few weeks ago, news came out that baseball’s Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen was quoted as saying that he “loved” Fidel Castro.  

Many objected to this statement, which was signularly offensive to Miami’s immigrant Cuban community, composed of refugees from Catro’s communist tyranny in Cuba. Others, notably Bob Ryan on the April 15 episode of ESPN’s The Sports Reports, said that this nation values the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech, as if that meant the Marlins should respect Guillen’s opinion.
And THIS is where confusion starts. People assume that if the State shouldn’t punish you for speaking your mind, your own employer shouldn’t punish you either.
It’s as if going to jail for your opinions, and getting suspended or fired for your opinions, are the same thing.
They are not.
Expressing your opinions hurts NOBODY. Therefore, the State has NO REASON to punish you for expressing them.
What you say whle working for a private employer, however, can cause the clientele to DISLIKE your employer, causing your boss to lose business. Your boss, then, has a REASON to fire you and apologize to the clientele.
It really is that simple. EVERYONE has freedom of opinion, free from State censorship or punishment. But EVERYONE is, and should be, accountable for what they say in the voluntary, free market.
I don’t know the Miami metro area (or “market” as the major sports leagues and tv networks put it). And I don’t know whether Guillen should have been suspended 5 games (as he was), or fired, or if he should have had no punishment at all. That wasn’t up to me, it was up to the Marlins ownership looking after its own interests.
I DO know that Guillen had a moral and First Amendment right to speak. He shouldn’t be prosecuted by the government for his words, but he SHOULD be accountable to the free market – the business judgment of his bosses – for his words.

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