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. Crystal

    Yeah. Isn't this a FREE country???!!!! Or is it just free for some people depending on what career you have...???

    April 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TGW

    That the way Castro do to his opponents. That the way American Cubans act, they are the same. Castro rules in Cuba, old rich exiled rule in Little Havana, Miami.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • cubansareillegals

      You are absolutely right!!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    Cuban Americans LMFAO. This is all you need to know to know you don't want to be a Republican. What a bunch of losers. These are people Castro wouldn't even take.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Love Being An Independent Woman

      Proof that ALL Cuban Americans are Republican. You sound like a bitter old man ..............oh, AND a Democrat terminal moaner.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cubansareillegals

    Why do you have to apologize to a bunch of illegals. Cuban come to this country in boats and start living on welfare. Let them boycott the Marlins. They are a minority anyways and they don't go to the stadium. Remember how empty the stadium is in Florida? Cubans want to take over the country and destroy it, like when they did during the real dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      You area complete idiot. Please if you have not done so already, do not have off spring. Thanks

      April 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mariosphere

    I don't see why he was suspended for speaking his mind. Lots of other players in other sports say much worse things and they still keep their jobs.

    Too bad Selig chose to bend over to some of the Cuban Americans who play the victim card. They should be grateful they found a country that welcomed them. So how is their "suffering" compounded or made worse by a guy who says "I respect Fidel Castro, he's been governing Cuba for decades"? I fail to see the logic, except for pandering to a sector of the population.

    And to the misinformed "Cubansareillegals", be quiet. You know next to nothing.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Love Being An Independent Woman

      Marioshere – THAT is what I call a good post. Cheers!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariosphere

      Thank you thank you.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |

    Is ok men, relax, you were being candid and outspoken and that is fine... no worries dude life goes on and in two weeks nobody remembers you..

    April 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. martin

    The man didn't say he admired communism, or heaven forbid he admired socialism, or that he thought the healthcare system in cuba was superior to the one in the US. All he said was he in awe of the guy's staying power. all of those right wing cuban americans in florida should be grateful for freedom of speech, not trying to hamper it.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PraiseTheLard

    So... Tim Thomas insults the President of the U.S. and suffers no consequences... but this is so objectionable as to result in a suspension?

    April 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Love Being An Independent Woman

    A serious question from an Irish person – Are ALL Americans a bunch of divas? CNN put a load of rubbish up every day and out you come as regular as clockwork; moan, grumble, abuse, more moans! Don't you have jobs; a life; friends; a hobby?
    I swear you'd cause a riot in an empty room!

    April 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • JeffB

      As a matter of fact, we ARE a bunch of divas. And moaning and grumbling is our job, our hobby, our way of life . . . and we're proud of it! And who except an American could cause a riot in an empty room? USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Moronmor Gadfly

    Despite half of his citizens despising him, and living right next door to the world's greatest super power/military, Castro managed to hold on to power for 6 decades. That is a pretty impressive feat. I wonder if I will be fired from my job tomorrow for saying that? Or if Cubans will boycott the company I work for? Probably, because people no longer think that this is a free country except for them. America is now the "you are free to share my opinion" country.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Time

    The whole USA should be suspended from the Milky Way for the nation's accepted past demoralization of its own black athletes and citizens for being themselves.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      For being ignorant thugs?

      April 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • scranton

      Quit being such a drama queen. What a dolt.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ready

    Thats all he said? He respects castro? REALLY? Thats what people are outraged about? No wonder we can't have trade with Cuba fringe rageists flipping out over minor nothings like that. Chill out Cubans.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Galt Ramirez

    This is AMERICA. Freedom of Speech. Who cares whether this guy likes Castro or not? The Miami Cuban community needs to take a chill pill. Btw, as a Puerto Rican I could care less.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. johnny

    you gotta be kidding me , suspending him for using his right of free speech, lets get this right those offended cubans left cuba because they could"nt have such privilages as the freedom of speech thats just wrong you people are mentally weak!!!!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      he is a baseball manager. he is an ex player. im glad we put so much into his opinion outside of baseball. Give the man a break people, he will take his 5 games suspension and move on but the 100 or so people wont be happy until they have his head. get over it and move on.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jerry

    America is the greatest, freest country on earth. Unlike that commie place, Cuba, in American we have the God given right to say anything our employer allows us to say.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby

      what happened to freedom of speech ? for real ? all atheletes are expected to have the exact same political ideals , foreign policy ideals as well . gimme a break YOU who supsended him are un american. Besides he didnt say I LOVE castro he said he respected him. Big deal if he did say the later , free country free speech.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
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