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. Trebek

    Miami, New Orleans, Washington D.C. Top 3 cities containing the worst people America has to offer.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jose

    Old Cubans need to wake up and realize they are in the UNITED STATES. Damn

    April 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Island Jack

    I think I'll boycott the Marlins for five games.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GIGI

    Big deal!!! He just said that he respected Castro for being there for so many years.. There is nothing wrong with that. Why so many apologies?? I feel the same way, but I wont apologize for that...

    April 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bruce Feinberg

    You must be kidding, the difference between here and Cuba is the fact that we CAN voice our opinions here. Miami has long been too much of a 3rd World country, Cuba-centric to sickening proportions.

    This is the US, and we enjoy our freedom of speech, and if anyone does not like it, they are free to leave.The funny thing is, even if it is liberated from the current regime, the last thing that the Cubans want is for those who fled to return.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. evrgreen

    I have seen what Castro has done to Cubans and to that country. Have you Irish-English boy? Remember: appearances are deceiving. Talk to real cubans. Know the truth. Take off that blindfold.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jose

    Old Cubans need to wake up and realize they are in the UNITED STATES. Damn fool

    April 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patriot

    Another example of the nonsense sweeping America. Agree with Mike in Arizona... "this is just wrong."

    April 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jpw2012

    That's bs. What happened to first ammendment rights? Political correctness is destroying the U.S.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan

    GET over it.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark T, Union, NJ

    The man should be able to support or not support Castro without the Cuban community in Miami going ballistic. It's a free country.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sick n tired

      You mean, it used to be "a free country".

      April 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      This used to be a free country. Not any more. Except, of course, you are free to pay your taxes. Great.
      And, by the way, If Castro was so bad, why didn't the people of Cuba rise up and kill him over the past 60 years.
      Bunch of toads.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • loverpoint

      Maybe we should kick out some of Cuban exiles in this country that clearly don't understand "Freedom of Speech". Cubans in the US are bidding their time and waiting for the day when they can overthrow Cuba and turn it back into a den of criminality it was before Castro took over.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Z_2k

    I think Mr. Guillen's brain may be pickled. You can't keep up a routine as he describes for "25, 28 years" and not loose a few brain cells along the way. I believe he just didn't understand how his comment would be interpreted, regardless of what he really was meaning to say.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. biff

    so now we got a group of illegal aliens dictating MLB POLICY? AY CARUMBA!

    April 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • muhamad

      Pale Hose manager Ozzie Guillen has oodutne himself: the outspoken South Side monument, known for his legendary rants, authored yet another one on Monday night disputing a call from umpire James Hoye that shortstop Alexei Ramirez was out on a grounder. Guillen argued that the ball had dropped foul. This most recent rant is well worth watching, as it has Guillen kicking Cubs' backstop Geovany Soto's mask into an elegant trajectory, a visual that sparked Chicago wags to speculate that Guillen could be the Bears new punter.

      July 14, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Marie MD

    @trebek, you are an idiot and a racist sitting in your double wide.
    This guile needs to spend his suspension in Cuba to see how much respect he had for castro after he can't eatnfor a dew days!

    April 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      You missed the whole point.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trebek

      Marie MD: I'm far more successful and intelligent than you are, troglodyte.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles Hilton

      Those Cuban's who censor speech they don't agree with are no better than Castro and are the ones who should go back to Cuba.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Abrondon

    Reading his comments, his remorse seems to be heartfelt and have nothing to do with the suspension. I don't really understand the suspension in this case, but perhaps there are sensitivities in the Cuban-American community that I'm not aware of.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • latuya83

      Yes there is one sensitivity we all hate Castro

      April 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
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