By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Though this isn’t the first time Ozzie Guillen has been outspoken and controversial, his comments about Fidel Castro could end up being the ones that hurt him the most. Though he apologized, and has been suspended, there’s a chance his legacy could be defined by his support of the Cuban leader.
Guillen won’t be the first sports figure to let his mouth get in the way of his performance. Many are remembered best not for their play (or coaching) on the field, but for the things they said.
Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker’s career came to a screeching halt after comments appeared in Sports Illustrated that painted him as racist and homophobic. Television gambling analyst Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, former Reds owner Marge Schott, former MLB executive Al Campanis, former NBA player Tim Hardaway all saw their public images change drastically because of comments they made that are considered to be racist or homophobic.
Major League Baseball’s Rafael Palmeiro’s denial of steroid use is still his legacy, and Mark McGwire’s refusal to answer questions spoke about as loudly as a quote could have. McGwire has since admitted to steroid use and begun to rehabilitate his image.
Comments that can derail a career aren’t always as serious as the ones mentioned so far. Right here in Philadelphia, Ricky Watters’ famous “for who, for what?” and Allen Iverson’s legendary soliloquy on the value of practice will always be top of mind when either name is said aloud.
Who in sports do you remember more for what they said than what they did?