The always outspoken Marlin manager and former player Ozzie Guillen has been suspended for 5 games by the Miami Marlin’s team for comments he made in support of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
In a Time magazine article last week, Guillen, a Latin-American from Venezuela, told the reporter, “I Love Fidel Castro, I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (explicative) is still there.”
The comments instantly created a firestorm of negativity in a city known for it’s huge Cuban-American population, some of which escaped the dictators rule in Cuba and witnessed the horrors that were involved with his rule.
After realizing the mistake he had made, Guillen apologized to the Miami community and announced he was flying back to Miami, from Washington where the team is currently playing, to address the matter in person rather than issue a meaningless statement.
Upon suspending Guillen for his derogatory comments, the Marlin’s organization issued a statement that read; “The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen.” Adding, “The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”
During his Tuesday morning press conference, a visibly saddened and embarrassed Guillen apologized again in Spanish to all the Cuban and Latin Americans, who were affected by his comments. He also made clear that he does not support Castro and his comments where a mistake.
“I feel like I betrayed my Latin community,” Guillen said, in Spanish. “I am here to say I am sorry with my heart in my hands and I want to say I’m sorry to all those people who are hurt indirectly or directly.”
“I’m sorry for what I said and for putting people in a position they don’t need to be in. And for all the Cuban families, I’m sorry,” he continued. “I hope that when I get out of here, they will understand who Ozzie Guillen is. How I feel for them. And how I feel about the Fidel Castro dictatorship. I’m here to face you, person to person. It’s going to be a very difficult time for me.”
Guillen went on to blame his own translation to English for his comments coming out wrong. “The interpretation didn’t come out as I wanted, I was thinking in Spanish, and I said the wrong thing in English.”