The incredibly outspoken Ozzie Guillen might have finally outdone himself this time. The Miami Marlins manager has been suspended five games for comments made that praised the Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
"The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen," the organization said in a written statement regarding the move. "The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship."
Joey Cora, the Marlins' bench coach will serve as interim manager during Guillen's suspension.
Guillen held a press conference on Tuesday morning in Miami, speaking mostly in Spanish. The controversial manager apologized intently to the city, the Cuban-American community and all of Latin America. His pro-Fidel comments were published on Time magazine's website last week.
"I feel like I betrayed my Latin community," Guillen said, according to ESPN's translation of his comments in Spanish. "I am here to say I am sorry with my heart in my hands and I want to say I'm sorry to all those people who are hurt indirectly or directly."
"I'm sorry for what I said and for putting people in a position they don't need to be in. And for all the Cuban families, I'm sorry," he said, according to ESPN's translation. "I hope that when I get out of here, they will understand who Ozzie Guillen is. How I feel for them. And how I feel about the Fidel Castro dictatorship. I'm here to face you, person to person. It's going to be a very difficult time for me."
In the Time magazine interview, Guillen said that he loves Castro and respects him for being able to stay in power for so long.
However, Tuesday morning Guillen repeated that he does not admire the Cuban dictator, but that he was mostly speaking about how surprised he was that Castro was able to remain in power for such a long time and that his Spanish to English translation didn't come out as planned.
"The interpretation didn't come out as I wanted," Guillen said in Spanish, according to ESPN's translation. "I was thinking in Spanish and I said the wrong thing in English...Everybody in the world hates Fidel Castro, including myself. I was surprised that he's still in power. That's what I was trying to say to the journalist. And that's the first thing that came out of my mouth. I admit it. It was the wrong words."
Vigilia Mambisa, a Cuban-American advocacy group in Miami, stated they would boycott and demonstrate against Guillen until the Marlins organization fires him, further proving that the manager might not be off the hot seat even after serving his five-game suspension.
"I will do everything to try to make things be better," he said. "I'm willing to do everything in my power, in the Marlins power, to do everything I can to help this community."
White Sox fans know too well how controversial Guillen can be. While with Chicago in 2006 he was fined and ordered to undergo sensitivity training by Major League Baseball after using a gay slur during a rant towards an area newspaper writer.
"This is the last time this person talks about politics," he said, according to ESPN's translation.
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