Miami Marlins suspend baseball manager over Castro comments
MIAMI, April 10 — The Miami Marlins baseball team suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games after he praised Cuba's Fidel Castro in a magazine interview, the team said today.
The outspoken Guillen held a bilingual news conference on Tuesday in Miami – home to a large Cuban exile community – to apologise for a second time and said there were translation problems with the interview.
Guillen, who took over as manager of the Marlins this year, has come under attack after saying he had “respect” for Cuba's ailing former leader.
“I love Fidel Castro,” the Venezuelan-born Guillen told Time magazine's online edition. “You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years but that mother fucker is still here.”
He later apologised for the comments from Philadelphia, where the Marlins are playing several games, saying he was deeply embarrassed by having offended Miami's large Cuban exile community.
“The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen,” the team said in a statement. “The pain and the suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimised, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”
In an effort to make amends, Guillen, 48, traveled to Miami where he held a lengthy press conference on Tuesday, speaking in Spanish and English to further apologise.
“I'm here on my knees, apologising to all the Latin American communities,” Guillen said.
“The last few days have been very difficult for me and my family. I'm sorry for what I said and for putting people in a position they don't need to be in,” he said.
Known for making colourful and often controversial comments, Guillen blamed problems in translation in his interview.
“I was thinking in Spanish and sad it wrong in English,” he said. “I don't want to make excuses. What I wanted to say was I was surprised Fidel Castro stayed in power so long, considering what he's done.”
“It was misinterpreted. I said I cannot believe someone who has hurt so many people is still alive.”
Guillen formerly managed the Chicago White Sox and led the team to a World Series title in 2005. As a player, he was an all-star shortstop. — Reuters