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. Marc L from NY

    A man is measured by the words he speaks, as opposed to a child, who just says whatever is on his mind without thought of the implications. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody misspeaks. However, for some, it is common. Guillen is not a man, he is a child. He has done this many times.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      Oh man, you should see his twitter feed. Hilarious stuff.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • BigSir

      So, real men are those that hide what they really think? Pathetic stuff!

      April 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. sbp

    Please Google the First Amendment. Your "right" to freedom of speech extends only so far as freedom from having the government stop you. You have NO right to say anything you like and not have your boss or his customers try and stop you with whatever legal means and rights THEY have.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marlins GM

    I would be afraid to say what he said in Miami. He thoughtless comment to TIME put his life at risk.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ron Isadore

    Ozzie is the Zambrano of managers a complete idiot !!!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. The new King

    Step to the head of the "Little minds line". Congratulations. You're number one.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. ArtInChicago

    Kenny Williams<===== HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...wheeze ack...hhahahahahahahah!!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Marc from Florida

    This is a free speech issue. Let it go and move on. Political corectness is killing this country.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

      I don't think you need what the 1st ammendment is.

      Go tell your boss what you really think of him and then cite the 1st ammendment. See where that gets you.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • ArtInChicago

      Marc, you need to learn what free speech is.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier


      April 10, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Mars

      Live Microphone...Ozzie Guillen...what could go wrong? Ozzie has Terminal Foot-N-Mouth disease. I loved it when he was here in Chicago, I tuned in for every interview. It was better than going to the Laugh Factory.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ozzie the porker

    If he ever hit a home run he'd have to get the ground crew to roll him around the bases in a wheel barrow.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

    One thing you can say about Ozzie, never a dull moment.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. Gastromania

    Welcome to the club, dummy. Here, have some pintos.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. BigSir

    He respects Castro's longevity, so what? Didn't say he respected him as a leader.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. Anonymous from Arizona

    In AA you often hear, "I drank because I was happy, I drank because I was sad." His constant over-the-top rhetoric is another sign.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. mark

    how can we figure out how to blame this on Obama?

    April 10, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • JC

      "how can we figure out how to blame this on Obama?" You could just assume that he used satellites to beam the lame stream media directly into Ozzie's head, same as he does to Mitt and Newt when they try to give speeches.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. chicago2010

    Cubans have pretty thin skin I guess. You would never know. I wonder how many will go back when Castro is out. I guess none. Or only those who get good lawyers and with help of US take away all the stuff their parents used to own.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Rafael Bocanegra

      I'm one of the CUBAN's that want to thank you for realizing that the dictadorship of fidel castro stole from those that had in order to keep it,the regime is not "Robin Hood" they're simply HOOD's

      April 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. matt

    Why does MLB continue to tolerate Ozzie? Every month it is something new with him not to mention that Miami is mostly Cubans.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
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