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. GOP Hate America

    so much for free speech

    April 10, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • freaksloan

      You are an idiot.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. martin

    So much for freedom of speech. This is what happens when you anger a small but disproportionately
    powerful voting block. Watch Marco Rubio try to cash in on this. It will take the spotlight off of his missing birth certificate.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. MickJ

    Ozzie committed a thought crime! MLB is watching you. Wait, what was the crime again? He called Castro an SOB! After that, he apologized. I think something is full of fail.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      No kidding, Mick. I suppose if Marlins fans don't like Coldplay, Ozzie has to listen to their discography at home with headphones for fear of being outed by the Latin community and suspended without pay.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dawn

    This is totally outrageous. All Guillen did was state his opinion.
    Can we no longer express how we feel?
    Politicians do it all the time. Frankly he should not have apologized, even if he were pressured.
    So he respects or admires Fidel Castro, what's the big deal.
    Like him ( Castro) or hate him he toots his own horn.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    So much for the 1st Amendment. America dies a little bit more each day. I weep for the future.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. Let me show ya somethin

    Open mouth insert foot. Better to have kept your mouth shut and have people guess if your an idiot, rather than open it and let em know.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. LOL

    Who cares! What he said doesn't impact me in any way. I don't even know who he is. Why is this a big deal?

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Let me show ya somethin

      You don't know who this person is nor do you care about the article, yet you took the time to comment about it, ummm okay, that sounds legit

      April 10, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. sbp

    GOP Hate, Martin, so much for knowing anything about the Bill of Rights. What is WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tee

    He's pathetic for backtracking and the team is ridiculous for squelching free speech. Deport him.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Tee: Didn't you read, he became a U.S. citizen. He can't be deported. People need to LEARN a little bit about immigration laws before they speak!

      April 10, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Captain Obvious

    I'm not a fan of Guillen by any stretch. I think he's an idiot. But suspending him for saying something dumb makes the league look like even bigger idiots.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. Griot

    Wow! So please remind me which government is supposed to be the repressive one the US or Cuba?

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      I must have missed the part where MLB became the US government.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Cubans want freedom of speech in cuba but they dot allow it here in the USA. He should be able to say what ever he wants to say.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. shouldn't have hired him then

    They should not have hired Ozzie if they were afraid of his mouth.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. OGR99

    The Miami Marlins are protecting their brand and product. They have every right to suspend Ozzie.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. tostonesfix

    I would have fired the guy.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • D Forbes

      There's a real true red blooded right-wing thinker for you....

      April 10, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
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