Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen Suspended For 'I Love Fidel' Comment
Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been suspended without pay for five games, effective immediately, as the firestorm continues over his comment to Time magazine last week that "I love Fidel Castro."
According to the Miami Herald, the team said "the pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship."
At a news conference this morning, Guillen apologized for the uproar, said he's sorry so many people were hurt by his words, said he is embarrassed by what happened — and said that he does not love Castro and misspoke. He was trying to say, Guillen told reporters, that he's amazed Castro has been able to stay alive and in power for so long.
From The New Yorker's latest issue: "In simple terms, Guillen's job is to talk — to provide the soundtrack for [owner Jeffrey] Loria's visual delights. In his eight years managing the White Sox, before signing with the Marlins, last fall, he became the sport's prime magnet for microphones and tape recorders, even if half of what he said was unintelligible or unfit to broadcast. (He is sometimes said to speak neither English nor Spanish, 'just Ozzie.') His candor endeared him to the beat guys, if not always to his bosses, to whom he seldom deferred. And his willingness to expound on open-ended questions, of the 'tell us what you saw out there' variety, helped distract journalists from bothering his players, who were often grateful."
Note: There is a lot of profanity in that New Yorker piece.
"I'm very sad," Guillen also said.
An outspoken Venezuelan who has gotten in trouble before for things he's said about homosexuals and others, Guillen spent almost an hour with the news media in Miami. We updated this post as he spoke.
On Morning Edition, NPR's Tom Goldman reported on the latest trouble Guillen has gotten himself into. Guillen told Time that he loves and respects Castro because the Cuban leader has managed to stay alive for decades even though many would like to see him dead.
As the Herald reports:
"Spanish-language radio stations popular with older Cuban Americans — a coveted local voting bloc — were inundated with calls from listeners offended by Guillen's reported remarks. ... He has since apologized for those comments, but that hasn't stopped mushrooming outcry from some South Florida Cuban Americans, a group his ballclub hopes will fill the team's new Little Havana stadium in coming years."
Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. More On Guillen's Explanation:
According to the Herald, "Guillen said he was trying to say that he couldn't believe that someone who has hurt so many 'is still in power' and added he did not share Castro's ideology."
His news conference just ended.
Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. "I Was Thinking In Spanish And Said The Wrong Thing In English."
According to ESPN's translation of what Guillen has said in Spanish this morning:
"Guillen said repeatedly that he does not admire Castro. He said when the comments were made, he was talking about how he was surprised Castro was able to remain in power so long, given the number of people he had hurt.
" 'The interpretation didn't come out as I wanted,' Guillen said in Spanish, according to ESPN's translation. 'I was thinking in Spanish and I said the wrong thing in English.' "
Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. Misinterpreted, "Very Stupid" Or Both?
While he has said he's sorry, did "the wrong thing" and is embarrassed, Guillen has also told reporters this morning that "his comments were misinterpreted by the reporter, and he doesn't love or admire Castro," The Associated Press writes. But he also just said was "very stupid" to make the comments he did.
Update at 11:05 a.m. ET. "I Hurt A Lot Of People":
"I hurt a lot of people — a lot of people's feelings," Guillen just said. And he needed to apologize again because, "I [did] the wrong thing."
Update at 11:00 a.m. ET. Asks For Forgiveness:
Guillen has been speaking in both Spanish and English. Earlier, according to a translation from the Herald, he said "he had betrayed the Latin American community and repeatedly asked for forgiveness 'with my heart in my hand.' "
Update at 10:55 a.m. ET. He Is "Very Embarrassed," Guillen Says:
Asked how he feels, Guillen just told reporters he is "very embarrassed ... very sad."
"I'm very, very, very sorry," he also said.
And he said he cannot complain about the suspension.