April 9th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Ozzie Guillen to fly home to Miami to address Fidel Castro backlash

Ozzie Guillen has a knack for controversial statements and it's easy to treat his bombast as Ozzie being Ozzie, but his latest words on his respect for former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro aren't going away - not in Miami.

Guillen, who took over the Miami Marlins this season after eight years with the Chicago White Sox, announced he was flying back to Miami after the Phillies game tonight to hold a press conference about the remarks, according to The Miami Herald.

“I was planning to do something Friday, but (Tuesday) we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face-to-face,” Guillen told the paper. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball-club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

He said he hasn't been able to sleep for three days because of the controversy and he wanted to speak to the media and people of Miami in person, rather than via a statement.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. ... Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen sparked the 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."

A group of Cuban-Americans threatened to march on the stadium Tuesday and boycott the Marlins until they fired the Guillen, Yahoo Sports reported.

The manager said he has 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 the remark yesterday 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."

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Filed under: Baseball • Cuba • Fidel Castro • Florida • Protest • Sports • U.S. • World
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. sparkey

    Ozzie can be a real idiot at times! He is the most vulgar manager in MLB!

    April 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don't sugar coat it

      Can be?

      April 10, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    Sure, Ozzie is outrageous...he always has been...and I donakt think he has the best grasp of the English language....

    We'll take him back in Chicago.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |

    controversial statement is 4 controversial people.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ♚Mmmmm♛

    he has right to his opinions...he did not offend anyone...the statement doesn't necessary provide accolade...the same could be said about a block of cement...give dah man a break people...

    April 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Juan

      He has every right to say whatever he wants just like every other American. However, just because we have the freedom of speech doesn't mean you get a free pass. We are all responsible for our actions and our words and must face consequences for certain things we say and do. This is a perfect example. He doesn't have to apologize to anyone. But if he doesn't, he will probably be fired. He's not sincere when he says he's sorry. He meant every word he said and that's ok. If he respects and admires the Castors and Chavez of the world, then why the hell is he here, making millions of dollars off of us. Why isn't he coaching baseball in Cuba or Venezuela? We all know why...
      What he said is just like if he said that he likes and admires Hitler. In fact, he probably does. For those who are not aware, Fidel Castro is responsible for killing over 100,000 Cubans during the revolution and Executed tens of thousands thereafter. The media doesn't talk about it and they don't teach it in our schools. That's part of the problem.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      I dunno doojuan maybe he's sending his millions home to better the island...his comment wasn't attacking the dignity of any person are the race of any people...soOoowhat if it tickled the political funny bone...he akin castro to carbunacles...how complimentary is that...the cuban people love their culture and their country as a cuban he can talk about

      April 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ellipsismania

      Your 'period' key seems to be stuck. Give it a break. Maybe you should clean the egg nog off of the keyboard. That usually works.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    S/B don't think.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      ...really good grasp banasy...lol

      April 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I know, right? Lol...as soon as I saw what I wrote, went 'uh oh'.....

      April 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Don Jones

    Thanks to Ozzie for telling it like it is. It's about time we stand up to the Batista loving Miami thugs who have had far too much influence for far too long. Cuba is no longer a USA-Mafia brothel thanks to Castro. Tell the truth for a change.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Juan

      You are so misinformed and out of touch. I feel sorry for you. You are an IDIOT!

      April 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Look before you leap... think before you speak

      Dollars to pesos says one of your most used phrases is "Wish I hadn't said that."

      You're a non-thinking blabbermouth just like he is.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. ♚Mmmmm♛

    mary! mary!
    quite contrary!

    April 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. portland tony

    JEEZ: You would have thought he said something derogatory about baseball. What I think about Castro means nothing. What he thinks about Castro means nothing. Only those folks and their families who lost a lot of power and $$ when Batista fell have a horse in the race. Other do gooders should read a little history.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan Silagi

    Fact is, Castro's an old man whose power is totally ceremonial. His brother runs the show. Cuba itself hasn't been a threat to the US nor to the West since the collapse of the USSR 20 years ago. The real threat is Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, who's propping up the Cuban regime as well as those in Bolivia and Ecuador, and as Chavez is getting ready to buy that big collective farm in the sky, the Cuban regime's days are also numbered. I predict Castro will outlive Chavez, and the new democratic government which will supersede the Castro brothers will treat the aging Castros well in their final years. Castro has lots of supporters in Cuba. Without them he'd have been long gone, and his fate would have been a harsh one indeed. Yet one's gotta admire Castro just a little; if just for his cojones, he's managed to hang on for over half a century, despite efforts by the CIA and others to kill him. That's basically what Ozzie Guillen was saying.

    The main issue here, though, is that we live in the USA, where we have freedom of speech. Guillen really didn't say anything subversive or seditious; it was just another instance of Ozzie being Ozzie. So all you anti-Castro Cubans, cut this guy a break. He's about the best thing to happen to the Marlins, if only for the publicity value.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ♚Mmmmm♛

    castro is on his last leg...if yah feel that strongly about send the man an order of ihop's and postcard of of a
    3-legged dog saying "thinking of you!"

    April 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tony

    sure, Ozzie has the right to his opinion but the people offended by his "respect" for a murdering despot can also demonstrate their feelings towards a man who drinks himself to bed after every game. perhaps some people aren't aware that the Castro's are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Cuba and other countries.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Charles manson

    Just admit it America fidel and lil old cuba is smarter he will live longer than the rest of the living U.S. PRESIDENTS

    April 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tony

    just as nauseating is how quickly Ozzie has backtracked and changed his story instead of being a man and standing up for his belief. now he's apologizing to anyone who will listen.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tony

    sure of what, Mary?

    April 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ♚Mmmmm♛

    i beg your pardon...i stay inna tri-state area...which embraces the most country-fried part of this here u s of a where
    wh-rite gravey and biscuits is the order every day along with the perchant for the fiddle, harmonica, and the willow whistle...out here pauladeen is lard and gawd...

    April 9, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
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