(Local 10) Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been suspended for five games amid controversy over a comment he made about Fidel Castro.
The Marlins released a statement Tuesday morning, saying, “The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen. The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”
Time Magazine reported that Guillen said he loves Castro and respects him for staying in power so long.
Guillen spoke at a Tuesday morning news conference, apologizing again in Spanish before fielding questions in English. He said he was “very embarrassed, very sad.”
“I apologize to the people here, outside, and I’m very, very, very sorry about the problem, about what happened. I will do everything to make it better, everything in my power to make it better,” Guillen said.
Guillen has been accused of saying he loves Castro, but when asked at the news conference if he loves the former Cuban dictator, he said, “No.” The Marlins manager said the reporter in the article misinterpreted his remarks and claimed what he really said in Spanish was, “I cannot believe that someone who has hurt so many people is still alive.”
A Miami resident, Guillen said that fixing his problem with the community is more important to him than his suspension.
“I don’t blame those people to think what they think right now because they have all the right, because I hurt a lot of people, and I’m aware of that. It’s something, it’s another thing that’s not in my hands,” Guillen said. “If I’m going to be a Miami guy for the rest of my life, I got meet the community every day even if I want to or not, because I live here. I want to walk on the street with my head up and feel not this bad, the way I feel right now.”
The manager said before Monday’s game he’s had sleepless nights because of his comments and wants to make amends.
“I’m going to make everything clear what’s going on,” he said. “People can see me and talk. I’ve already talked to people. But I think it’s the proper thing to see my eyes. They can see me and ask whatever question they want. I think sooner is better. Better for the ballclub, better for me.”
Members of the Cuban-American community, as well as Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez and Miami Commission Chairman Francis Suarez, have called for Guillen’s removal.
A group of protesters gathered outside Tuesday morning’s news conference. Some held signs saying, “Boycott the Miami Marlins,” and others chanted, “Guillen is a communist.”
The protesters were not satisfied by the suspension and the public apologies by Guillen. They said they want him out.