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. JDD

    I lost a lot of respect for the Marlins. What happen to free speech in this country?!? Just because of threats by people who probably dont even go to the games.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • School you

      The Marlins' organization does not have to respect his "right" to free speech, especially when he is being interviewed as an EMPLOYMEE of the organization. For all intents and purposes he was a representative of the organization. So while he may open his mouth and spew about whatever he chooses, his employer can choose to react however they see fit. What Guillen doesn't realize is that he just bit the hand that feeds him. And what many on this sounding board don't realize is that the very well-established and well-connected Cuban American Community (in Miami and elsewhere) will never forget his blatantly stupid, insensitive remarks.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 100 year ol colored fella

    if you force da cubans in cuba to watches al da Andy "cheap al paciono" Garcia movies and make them listen to gloria estefan 24 hours a days den day'd all lose there minds and commit sucide den day's be no peoples for Castro to dictate to.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bruce

    So much for free speech. If someone was suspended from their job in Cuba for voicing a political opinion, these same self-righteous hypocrites would howl about an infringement on freedom. It proves, yet again, that conservatives do not believe in either democracy or freedom, only the right to impose their views on others.

    April 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • School you

      Bruce, in Cuba you don't get fired for expressing your opinion. In fact, most live in fear of having their opinions overheard and, consequently reported to the government. No, in you are not fired Cuba you are jailed at one point put before a firing squad. How's that for not having freedom of speech? The Marlins are a private organization and Guillen is a reprsentative of said organization. The Marlins have every right to suspend or fire him if they choose.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      they would fight to the death against any ivredans from the north What if we swung around and came at em from the Dominican, would they fight to the death then? Y'know, get them on a technicality, Hey, we came at you from the Southeast, you didn't say anything about fighting to the death against ivredans from the Southeast . It could work.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike T

    The Cubans hiding here are cowards. Hwy don't they grow some balls and go overthrow Castro. Whining about Castro is obviously not making him go away and neither is fleeing Cuba and moving to Miami and whining about him over hear. Freedom has a high price and it is seems the sniveling Cubans are to cowardly to pay it so they deserve what they get.

    April 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • School you

      Seriously, Mike? Could you be more ignorant? Oh maybe you don't know the history of THIS COUNTRY. You know, people did not just appear out of no where. Let me remind you. A long time ago, in a little country called Great Britain, a bunch of people were tired of being bullied by a tyrant monarchy that took what little they had, told them what to do, how to think, what to believe in, etc., etc., etc. So one day, these people decided they would get up, leave, and start anew. So they got on this big ship called the Mayflower and they traveled to this new land so they could be free. Remember them? Well, Mike the Cubans are no different. And, unless your ancestors where part of the few that were here before the Pilgrims, then you too should go back to where ever you came from.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juantolduso

      Just in case you don't know, they tried that once before,have you ever heard about the Bay of Pigs" attempt to do just what you suggested? Kennedy pull the rug from under them once they where there! I know because I knew one of the leaders of that attempt, whom Kennedy paid Castro ransom money for. He was a commandant that trained in the jungles of Central America specifically for that mission.What would make you believe that they can trust any administration that could do the same? Pleas,inform yourself before proving to us you don't know what you are talking about.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John Galt Ramirez

    This is AMERICA. Suspending this guy for exercizing his Freedom of Speech is ridiculous. Who cares about Castro?? Lol

    April 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. yneemee

    Americs used to be a proud country where freedom of speech and the right to an opinion were respected... that day is gpne.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Heny

    So much for freedom of speech...............

    April 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gavi

      Could not agree more Heny this cubans are extremist and this is coming from me a cuban who was in and out of jail for selling oil meet or whatever i could get my hands on. They look at Cuba with a magnifying glass over here and freedom of speech dream on when I went to vote for obama my own people cubans were screaming to me communist and a whole bunch of degrading offensive words. Freedom of speech as long as you agree with them, it is the same as in cuba just in Miami.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sane

    Old chinese saying "what comes out of your mouth and what goes into your mouth determines the harm that you will end up with."

    April 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ash2005

    The point here is not Fidel, Obama or Chavez, the point here is that this ignorant moron opens his mouth without giving it any thought. It is a shame that this man represents anything. This is not the end of him, just wait until he opens up his mouth again. What an embarrassment he is.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    Why are people so upset with his comment? We have freedom of speech. Although I do not agree with what he said, I believe we should not carry out this case for much longer. He is a Major League Baseball manager, not a politician.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Donald in CA

    The cuban castro haters seem to control politics in florida. Maybe its time to suspend some of these right wingers who make ugly comments about our president. A lot of people would be at home justifiable so.

    April 12, 2012 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. basam32

    These Cubans want it both wsys they want free speech as long as u don't say anything positive about Castro,at the same time George Bush is free to do whateva after he murdered Saddam in a war that turned out to be a personal thing...in the mean time they chase haitains through the streets of Miami just to deport them..its f'd up that this guy cant say anything without these ppl getting crazy..these are the same apply that burned the American flag when that kid was here a few years ago

    April 12, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    Ozzie meant what he said or he wouldn't have said it at all. The man has personal problems.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • REALITY 1 YOU 0

      The only one with the personal problem is you and people like you.. Ozzie has every right to say what thinks! NO MATTER WHAT !

      April 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Laura

    I would like to know what ever happened to freedom of speech. Why should he have to apologize for having a opinion about Castro.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bidders

    Do people not know what Freedom of speech means in this country? Free speech does not mean that there are no consequences for what you say. He is permitted to say what he wants and he will NOT be prosecuted by the law but we as a society do not have to put up with it. The MLB has rules and standards, the idiot didn't abide by them so he is being punished by his employers......VERY LEGAL!!!!!

    April 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
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