Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ditka tops Guillen in ranks of former Chicago sports guys turned goofs?

There are those people who like to rag on one-time Chicago White Sox shortstop and manager Ozzie Guillen as some sort of irresponsible goof – somebody who despite his significant athletic accomplishments for Chicago ball clubs is just too much of a goof to have around.
How does not seeing racial oppression ...

But after learning of one-time Chicago Bears tight end and head coach Mike Ditka’s latest railing on national television, I can’t help but think that Ozzie is nowhere near as absurd.

FOR THE RECORD, Ditka (who led the Chicago Bears to their only Super Bowl victory ever back in 1986) was on the Westwood One pregame show prior to the Monday Night Football game featuring the Bears against the Minnesota Vikings felt compelled to ignore the questions about the Bears’ ongoing struggles to find a competent quarterback.

Instead, he wanted to rant about the fact that many professional football players feel compelled to SUPPORT the protests taking place in recent weeks during the National Anthem rituals that take place prior to pro football games.

Those protests started last year with one player trying to express his concern about harassment of individuals based on race. When President Donald Trump felt compelled to get involved in this issue with his nonsense talk about “firing” football players, those players started showing solidarity with their colleague.

Ditka made a point of saying he’d “bench” anybody who dared do such things on any team he coaches. But the part that gets the national attention was Ditka’s claim that, “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” adding later, “I don’t see all the social injustice that some of these people see.”

... compare to 'respect' for Fidel Castro?
IT’S NOT SURPRISING to learn that a professional athlete lives his life in a cocoon that isolates himself from the daily realities of our existence. I also don’t doubt these guys think their physical skills in playing a ballgame at a high level somehow makes them worthy of living life in such isolation.

He may be the guy who doesn’t read the papers, except for the sports section so he can know which sportswriter to complain about for writing something he chooses not to agree with.

But it would be an exaggeration to say we haven’t had oppression in the past 50 years – although at least now the law is such that the people who try to pull off the most extreme instances can be prosecuted, rather than thinking the law is on their side.

These two youngsters likely never realized ...
Or maybe Ditka is just one of those types who thinks that certain people are supposed to accept the fact that they’re entitled to receive a certain level of harassment from society as a large?

I THINK THIS puts Ditka in a comparable category with Guillen, who led the White Sox to a World Series title back in 2005 – a moment that for some Chicago sports fans is more significant than that Bears Super Bowl title.

Remember all the loudmouth incidents when Ozzie played for, and managed, Chicago. Like Ditka, Guillen later got a one-year stint managing/coaching elsewhere (Miami for Ozzie, New Orleans for Ditka) and now is to the point where his only sporting value is as an occasional commentator for broadcasts.

Sports fans in Miami still haven’t forgiven Ozzie for his saying all those years ago that he actually had a certain level of respect for Fidel Castro – which I’m sure they feel is as absurd as Ditka trying to claim that no one has been oppressed in this nation. Personally, I always thought of Fidel as more of a third-rate, petty tyrant than a true world threat.

Just because many of the individuals who are oppressed belong to groups whom Ditka and people like him would prefer not to have to acknowledge. Which is the truly offensive part of all this cheap talk.

... the highs, and lows, they would reach
PERSONALLY, I’M MORE offended by Ditka, merely because his rant is so ridiculously simplistic – as in it’s difficult to believe anybody could think of life as being so basic. I couldn’t help but notice a report that one-time star quarterback Joe Namath responded to Ditka by saying “da coach” ought to look up the meaning of the word “oppression” to realize it has occurred.

It makes me wonder if Ditka is now material for Saturday Night Live – the show where he once was idolized in those “Super Fans” sketches. Would those same fans now ponder whether Ditka has gone goofy in his old age?

Just like some are pondering whether Guillen has lost it in his middle age, to the point where the most recent report I saw about Ozzie was speculating whether he’d be considered for the Detroit Tigers managing job that is now open.

He’s not in line for it, no more than any team would seriously want Ditka hanging around their sidelines during game time. A sad ending for two of the most intriguing ballplayers-turned-coaches to be a part of the Chicago sports scene in our lifetimes.


EDITOR'S NOTE: One major Ditka/Guillen difference -- Ditka is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, whereas few people took seriously Guillen for the Baseball Hall of Fame the one year he was actually on the ballot. Which most likely is evidence that the baseball version in Cooperstown, N.Y., deserves more credibility than the football version in Canton, Ohio.

No comments: