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. Chris

    This shows the amount of right-wing reactionaries inside the media. The entire system we have is content with demonizing every socialist leader because they oppose US imperialism. Fidel and Che and the revolutionaries that overthrew the Batista dictatorship gave their lives for the chance to liberate Cuba from the US and the Batista regime which was very bad. Im not saying Castro's government is free from problems and crimes but the Batista regime which we imposed upon them similarly to the Shah in Iran was very very bad.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeah yeah

      Thank you brother for blessing the ignorant few some insight on what this part of history was about.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Well said, Chris. You are 100% on target historically and ethically.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Time

      Im looking forward to Cuba vs US in women's vollyball in London this summer.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. HereWeGoAgain

    So the Marlins want to suppress their staffs' opinion.....and they are punishing Guillen for voicing an opinion.....wait.....isn't that a part of Communism? We have become a country drowning in political correctness ; you can't say anything without offending somebody. I'm definately no fan of Castro, but if what Guillen said is how he feels, then so be it, he has a right to his opinion.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Time

    You know ppl, it is Fidel and probably with his bud Hugo whose chuckling at ya again. They know this cost Ozzie squat financially and how culture knows its limitations from hanging around the neighbourhood all these centuries.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cristobal

    YOU idiots – THE GOVERNMENT – NOT THE FLORIDA MARLINS – grants you your 1st amendment right, meaning the government can't restrict your freedom of speech. However, a private company can fire you if you insult or upset someone in any way.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tcaros

    You can be sorry and fired.. that works for us.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    Ozzie is a baseball player. Brilliant.
    If you can, study that countenance for a moment. Now, what do you expect?! The guy has a right to his opinion and you have the right to remove yourself and your family from this grotesque, vacuous, vulgar spectacle that contributes nothing of lasting positive value to your life. You may want to take the opportunity and do the same with the infinitely sleazy Hollywood crowd of “stars” who, in between dope, alcohol, and myriad outrageous depravities, still find some consolation with admiring some leftist criminal every now and then. Ozzie and the likes of him have the right to their opinion, just like you have the right to ignore them and to switch off the boob tube.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. yeah yeah

    I respected Ozzie for his original comment, He let media sensationalism get to him....he HAS nothing to apologize about ESPECIALLY at the "Latino" community.....I'm Latino....there was NOTHING Offensive in his speech....UNLESS of course your a Miami Cuban descendant of the Batista Regime. QUE COMAN MIERDA!

    April 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kashiwa

    "free speech and Miami Marlins"

    The majority of the butts that will fill the seats at Marlins' home games will be Cuban ex-pats. Marlins' management is looking at the bottom line, i.e., $$$$$$. I doubt if "free speech" was even considered when they decided to suspend him.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. libertycall

    I feel for this poor guy

    April 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. libertycall

    Whoever took the decision to suspend this guy, caused the biggest surge of goodwill for Castro.

    All these posts from people like me who couldn't stand Castro,show even more disgust towards the hypocrites in our own yard, who try to limit our freedom of speech.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ross

    Ummm...the dude has first amendment rights...

    April 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajtoos

      1st amendment rights apply to government censorship not a private organization. The government cannot restrict your ability to curse at your boss...but your boss can surely fire you for it.

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

      cuban exiles are like jews-whoever says what they don't like,they ask for his head.by the way,castro is a great guy,he showed almighty bully.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michael in NYC


    April 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. whitmanguy

    Why can't Guillen just express his opinon? Isn't that supposed to be one of the great things about being American?

    April 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • American

      you can say whatever you want, however you are held to what you have said.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stan Iverson

    What a moron!

    April 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DeDe

    He may be an idiot but he has the right to express his opinion. To punish him is ridiculous.

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

      DeDe. I am officially recognizing your "right" to express your opinion and will now "punish" you with a sarcastic reply. Have your first amendment rights been violated? You might want to hire an attorney.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
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