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Andre Dawson says Ozzie Guillen's comments did ‘serious damage'

Former CubsÕ great and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson was the guest speaker to over 150 kids as part of the 2012 Citi Cubs Kids program. Dawson came to Blaine Elementary on Southport in Chicago and the kids wore Cub hats and shirts. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

Former Cub Andre Dawson was back in his old neighborhood Wednesday when he spoke to about 150 seventh- and eighth-graders at Blaine Elementary School, about a half-mile from Wrigley Field. Dawson, a Hall of Fame inductee and a special assistant to Miami Marlins president David ­Samson, was appearing for Citi Cubs Kids and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. But after the program, Dawson opened up about ex-Cub Ryne Sandberg, Theo Epstein and Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.

S-T: Have things calmed down after Ozzie Guillen made those comments about Fidel Castro?

AD: There was some serious damage done there, and I told Ozzie that you have to really be mindful of the sensitivity of a comment like that, especially where you are – in Little Havana. It was upsetting to a lot of people. But he did apologize.

S-T: Do you know if Ryne Sandberg was disappointed that he wasn’t even interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial job in the offseason?

AD: I speak to him on occasion, but not frequently. All along I felt this was what he was being groomed for, and it was probably his dream job. He’s moved on; the team has moved on. But I thought his managing in the minor-league system, getting as high as Triple-A, that this is what he was being groomed for.

S-T: Is he upset at what happened?

AD: No, and he doesn’t appear to show any signs of that. I think he wants to make sure that when he gets that opportunity [to manage at the major-league level], he is ready for that.

S-T: How long is it going to take for Theo Epstein to turn things around?

AD: The biggest challenge now is to see if he could do what he did in Boston. Doing it quickly is not the right way because it is going to be costly. Around here, you don’t want to hear the words ‘wait’ and ‘patience,’ but you’re going to have to be patient. The game plan is between three to five years.

Tina Akouris