After creating quite a stir by praising Fidel Castro, the communist thug who controlled Cuba for decades, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been suspended for five games. Now he’s working on repairing relations with the Miami community.
The suspension by the team takes effect immediately. It was announced shortly before Guillen held a news conference to explain what he said.
The 48-year-old Venezuelan told Time magazine he loves Castro and respects the retired Cuban leader for staying in power so long. In response, at least two local officials said Guillen should lose his job.
At the news conference, Guillen said his comments were misinterpreted by the reporter, and he doesn’t love or admire the dictator.
“I was saying I cannot believe somebody who hurt so many people over the years is still alive,” Guillen told the news conference.
But Guillen took responsibility for the uproar, and said it left him sad and embarrassed. He also said he accepted the team’s punishment.
“I’m very sorry about the problem, what happened,” said Guillen, who is only five games into his tenure with the Marlins. “I will do everything in my power to make it better. … I know it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.” (Read More)
He went on to say that “When you’re a sportsman, you shouldn’t be involved with politics.” I guess he found that out the hard way, but seeing that in the past he was willing to go on the air with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, it remains to be seen whether he’s really learned the lesson.
In case you’re wondering, according to the article linked above, Guillen’s pay has not been suspended but he said he will donate it to charity.
Update: Linked by Frugal Café where Vicki McClure Davidson wonders why certain politicians and movie stars are given a pass for praising a ruthless dictators, while baseball managers are not. I guess it’s just another sign of the times. Sad.