Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen hopped a flight from Philadelphia to Miami today to address the media concerning his comments to Time regarding Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
"I love Fidel Castro," Guillen said in an interview with Sean Gregory of TIME. He also added that he has a passion for bullfighting ("You're giving the animal an opportunity to kill you"), disdain for sports shrinks ("You're 4 for 4, you don't need psychology. You're 0 for 4, you need a f---ing guy to get you ready to play?").
The club wasted no time in suspending Gullien for five games with no pay, something the Marlins manager said he would not fight.
“The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen,” the Marlins said in a statement. “The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”
Commissioner Selig released a statement backing the decision by the Marlins to suspend Guillen.
“Major League Baseball supports today’s decision by the Marlins to suspend Ozzie Guillen,” Selig said. “As I have often said, Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities. All of our 30 Clubs play significant roles within their local communities, and I expect those who represent Major League Baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game’s many cultures deserve. Mr. Guillen’s remarks, which were offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world, have no place in our game."
Guillen, said at his press conference that, “I’m on my knees with my heart in my hands asking for your forgiveness.” He added, “The things I said I didn’t mean to say.”
Such is Ozzie Gullien. You get what you get. In hearing him speak (which he loves to do), what you find is a man that really doesn’t think before his mouth opens. In that, he can be refreshing in his unfiltered voice, yet be a PR nightmare.
Guillen deserves the suspension. He also should be made to apologize, repeatedly if necessary. What Ozzie Guillen really needs to do is know when to be quiet.
His statements on Castro are not coming from some political advocate. They’re coming from a man that likes to prattle. In that, he it’s difficult to measure punishments equally.
Many are calling for the Marlins to fire Guillen. After all, the Marlins new ballpark is in “Little Havana” for Pete’s sake. You’d think that would have crossed his mind.
Of course, it didn’t. For the players there is Manny being Manny. For managers, there’s Ozzie being Ozzie.
The Marlins had to know this. Any person with their finger on the pulse of the game knows that having Guillen in your organization is like playing with nitroglycerine: it’s just a matter of time before he would trip and things would blow up. He’s not unique in that sense. After all, Charles Barkley has become this type of personality as a player, and now as an NBA analyst. Barkley…. Guillen… you get risks when you get that type of personality.
In this, there is a conflict. To the Cuban-Americans that suffered under Castro’s regime, there is no place for such comments. Those that know Ozzie would say that he’s not really sure what he means half the time. He’s just spouting.
Welcome to Ozzie being Ozzie… again. You can really only punish him for that.
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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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