April 10th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Marlins suspend manager Guillen for 5 games; he apologizes for Castro comments

The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games, effective immediately, on Tuesday, just before Guillen apologized for recent comments praising Cuba's Fidel Castro.

Guillen sparked a firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected  Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.

"I respect Fidel Castro," Guillen said in the article. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there."

Guillen apologized during a press conference Tuesday, first speaking in Spanish, saying that he had "betrayed a Latin community" and that he was speaking to "ask for forgiveness with my heart in my hand."

But, he said, he originally spoke of Castro in Spanish and "the translation to English was a bit confusing."

In response to questions in English on Tuesday, Guillen said he was "very stupid" to make comments outside of baseball.

"Politics has nothing to do with sports," Guillen said.

"This is the biggest mistake so far in my life," he said.

Guillen said with the comments he'd let down the community.

"I'm very, very, very sorry," he said. "I will do everything in my power to make it better."

"I live in Miami, my family is in Miami," he said. "I will do everything in my power ... to help this community like I always do."

"I'm sitting here very embarrassed and very sad," he said at the press conference.

"I'm gonna be a Miami guy for the rest of my life," Guillen said. "I want to walk in the street with my head up and not feel as bad as I feel right now."

Guillen pledged to follow through on his promises to help out in Miami's Latin and Cuban communities.

"I'm going to be behind them 100%," he said.

He said he wanted to be with the team, which plays in Philadelphia again on Wednesday, but would not fight the suspension.

"I cannot complain about anything because I am not in a position to complain about anything they want to do with me," he said.

Guillen said he showed poor judgement, but not lack of intelligence, with the original Castro comments.

"You don't have this job if you're dumb," he said. "If I don't learn from this, I will call myself dumb."

The team said Tuesday the original comments were hurtful.

"The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship," the team said in a statement before Guillen's press conference.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said the suspension of Guillen was appropriate.

"I expect those who represent Major League Baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game’s many cultures deserve.  Mr. Guillen’s remarks, which were offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world, have no place in our game," Selig said in a statement.

Guillen earlier in the week said he had apologized to Cuban-Americans in the Marlins organization, including Spanish-language broadcasters Felo Ramirez and Yiki Quintana, as well as Cuban-born Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras, ESPN reported.

The Marlins released a statement saying there was nothing to respect about Castro, "a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship, and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today."

Guillen backtracked on Sunday and apologized to anyone he offended with the Castro remark, telling the Palm Beach Post that he is "against everything, 100%," regarding Castro's reign in Cuba.

Elaborating on his use of the term, "respect," he said, "I respect (President) Obama, I respect (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez because I always respect people."
Perhaps lost in the controversy were Guillen's remarks late last week that for a quarter century or more he has gotten drunk and gone to sleep after every game.

"I've got my routine. Game's over, stay in the lobby of the hotel, the hotel bar, get drunk and go to sleep," he told the Palm Beach Post.

"I get drunk because I'm happy because we won or get drunk because I'm very sad and disturbed because we lose. Same routine for 25, 28 years. It hasn't changed. I don't like to go out."

Guillen was named the Marlins manager on September 28. He previously managed the Chicago White Sox for eight years, including leading them to the 2005 World Series title.

He is a native of Venezuela and became a U.S. citizen in 2006.

soundoff (2,195 Responses)
  1. Carolyn KHanna

    Unbelievable! Since when can't someone voice their opinion. He has nothing to apologize for.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Philip

    I live in S. Florida and I'm really getting tired of this. Equating Castro to Hitler is ridiculous, which is what many Cuban-Americans are doing down here. If Castro is such a monster, why haven't the people of Cuba revolted? Why do tourists from around the world visit Cuba regularly?

    April 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • RF Burns

      If you researched what Castro did to those who opposed him you would change your mind. Wise up.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      Phillip,
      Hitler, no...BUT that being said, how horrible would it have to be that mother's risk their lives and their kids' lives crossing the Florida Straits? I can answer that but just the fact that its common should tell you a little bit about life and the hopelessness they feel.
      Did you ever wonder why they don't allow citizens to travel abroad freely? Think about it...they won't come back. WHY oh WHY wouldn't they go back to a beautiful Carribean Island? I suppose that if you knew, you wouldn't marginalize the effects the government has on its people there.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bob

    but why? where is freedom of speech? Gingrich says that the Palestinians are invented people and nothing happens to him, but this guy expresses his views on Castro and now he is a villain...unbelievable, or perhaps not...very sad.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RF Burns

    I was upset about what Ozzie said. But more upset with him being suspended. This used to be a free country.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • cajr

      until obama was elected. then it all stopped. and dont say it has nothing to do with this because it absolutely does. this whole culture has changed since he got in.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cajr

    its awful that you cant even make a comment in this country anymore without getting punished. say something about the blacks and your racist, say something about the mexicans or la-tee-nos and your a racist. yet all these groups talk bad about white people all the time and nothing ever happens to them. obama and his thugs are going after white militias but black panther party members publically call for bounties on people, spew hate and vile comments and what happens?? nothing. ever. you mar be aleftist ozzie but not their kind leftist. and its only going to get worse.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Randy

    It sure is funny how our own politicians and American actors like Sean Penn say how much they love Castro and of course they aren't fired or fined or anything else. When they do it, they are praised and people think they are wonderful.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jose

    These cubans get used by the republican party each and every election cycle "go cuban", "bad castro", "free cuban", "Freedom for cuban" lol and these repubs never do anything about anything. Nothing can be done for that country, only ones that can do anything for cuba is CUBANS THEMSELVES, go to cuban and fight for your country. Leave cuban politics in cuban.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • cajr

      and so do the mexicans by the democrats every single year. and jose, most mexicans i ask say oh the democrats give you stuff. i say wouldnt you rather have some pride and get a job and your own paycheck rather than a welfare check you didnt even contribute to? the way things look its probably no.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pat

    I am a bit surprised that Mr. Gullen, who as far as I can tell is not Cuban, felt the need to comment on President Castro. But it seems clear to me that Gullen did not mean for his quote to be an endorsement of Castro. Gullen has realized that the quote offended the Miami community, and has apologized. I think the suspension is an overly harsh reaction to the situation. And sadly, I think it was motivated primarily by money, to minimize the damage to baseball game ticket sales.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      I would like to know the reason Time felt the need to bring this topic up, when it has nothing to do with BASEBALL!

      April 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Whammybar

    What did this guy do wrong?

    April 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      Nothing.
      Absolutely nothing.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amused1944

      NOTHING!

      April 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wacha

    Whatever happened to free speech?

    April 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sumguy

      It's called signing a contract.
      He's representing the team.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don in Washington

      Indeed. What did happen to ability to express an opinion without having your life destroyed?

      April 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwardthe4th

      This is censorship. Last time I checked, free speech was one of our inalienable rights. I can't stand Castro, but even more- I detest the restriction of American free speech.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • k

      agreed.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Randy

    Sean Penn, Bono and a bunch of other liberal actors and singers have said how much they like Castro. Did they get suspended?

    April 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ray

      cause?

      this is miami we (cubans )run everything here. You live here work here breathe here urinate here or even look at the sun here. You better be against castro. All of us are united in this decesion. This our town no one elses. You utter a word supporting that man. And you go up against not only of us. But the cuban political elite machine we have established here over 40 years. Guillen world class short stop, and big mouth. Except here ....he got 101.......on how serious we take.....

      communisim.......and.......how much we detest castro. Cuba Si Castro no !!

      Dont worry Guillen mets will be hireing soon lloll...........

      hahahha

      April 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Suspended from what? Acting?

      April 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama/Bush = Stooges, Hasta la Victoria Siempre

      Probably not. However, I do think that we should wage merciless war against the South and stick all tea baggers in re-education camps.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • sumguy

      Well, I for one suspended Sean Penn, I wouldn't watch one of his movies if you paid me.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      ray, dont be a fool. Not every depends on cubans or think like cubans down here. Other hispanics now out number cubans, thank God. Take your war to cuba and stop being a coward, cutting and running from your country then causing issues here with your crap. Oh, you also have caucasians and Blacks down here. so suck it. jerk

      April 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      I dont get it , he said he likes Castro he got suspended, what about he if he said he likes OSAMA he would be rotten in jail now, where is freedom on speech ?
      Ohh Gosh , I Loove Castro, suspend me now !

      April 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dean

    Really... do we still have to placate the tiny minority of Cuban American exiles living in Miami? This is absurd. And tell me again why I'm not free to travel to Cuba on vacation.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Agreed dean. I hear its a great vacation spot, we need to get over this whole Cuba thing they aren't a threat.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jose

    These cubans get used by the republican party each and every election cycle "go cuban", "bad castro", "free cuban", "Freedom for cuban" lol and these repubs never do anything about anything. Nothing can be done for that country, only ones that can do anything for cuba is CUBANS THEMSELVES, go to cuban and fight for your country. Leave cuban politics in cuban. Come on man, wake up and keep it real... cubans

    April 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. alex

    OH THATS RIGHT! free speech doesnt exist anymore...darn=/

    April 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Prime

    So much for our freedom of speech... If Ozzie had sad the same thing about the Royal family of Saudi Arabia,who many will consider the worst tyrants, he would've been commended for that... O the hypocrisy!

    April 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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