Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been with his new club for five games. On Monday, he found himself suspended for the next five games due to controversial comments he made in an interview with Time Magazine.
In the interview with Time, Guillen stated, “I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro, you know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still here.”
In the heart of Miami, where the Cuban population is as prominent as any other, Guillen’s comments have been met with fury and protest. Guillen has since retracted his statements, and on Tuesday, gave a press conference asking forgiveness from the Miami faithful.
“I’m very embarrassed, I’m very sad,” said Guillen Tuesday, “the pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”
Guillen, who has been known to be outspoken in his previous eight years as the manager of the Chicago White Sox, has become somewhat familiar with sticking his foot in his own mouth. He found himself in hot water in June of 2006 when he used a homosexual slur to describe former Chicago Sun Times writer Jay Mariotti. After the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, Guillen declined the invite to the White House, instead returning to his native Venezuela to meet with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
The Marlins just moved into their new stadium in the Little Havana section of Miami, and the front office has to be very weary of the backlash from the fan base. For a team that has struggled mightily to draw fans over the course of their history, Guillen’s comments could drive a wedge in the relationship between the clientele and the team. Fortunately for Guillen, he managed to keep his job through the storm. Now we wait and see how the fans react, and whether or not they open up their wallets with forgiveness.