Ozzie Guillen was suspended five games by the Miami Marlins in advance of a news conference this morning where he explained his explosive comments about Fidel Castro, words that have set off protests in the middle of the community where the Marlins have built their new stadium and among fans the team hope to woo.
“I’m sorry that I hurt the community without any intention,” Guillen said in Spanish. “I’m here to say I’m sorry.”
Guillen, the first-year manager of the Marlins, made a special trip back to Miami from Philadelphia on an off-day for the team so he could explain comments in a Time magazine article praising Castro.
“He has done a lot of bad things,” Guillen said of Castro. “That’s why I am surprised he has stayed in power so long.”
Guillen said he felt the meaning of his comments were misconstrued in the translation between Spanish and English. He took and answered questions in both languages for nearly an hour today.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” he said. “But I meant that I was surprised Fidel Castro stayed in power so long. That’s what was missing in the translation. … I’m not saying the journalist was wrong. I was wrong. I was thinking in Spanish and I said it wrong in English.”
The rest here.
David Harsanyi weighs in:
With all that said, it is mildly unsettling to hear that a manager was
suspended for having an idiotic opinion that has nothing to do with
his job. Major League Baseball and the Marlins are free to do what
they like. Players and mangers are fined and suspended all the time
for making comments that leagues or teams find offensive. And this has
nothing to do with the First Amendment – ably explained here, by yes,
I’ll have to disagree with David here. In Miami, those comments have everything to do with his job. The Marlins need to sell tickets, and Guillen’s remarks make it that much harder to do. If fans won’t come to the game because he can’t control his mouth, than it doesn’t matter how many wins the Marlins get this year.
We will see what happens over the next few days, but I won’t be surprised if Guillen is fired eventually.