Marlins suspend Ozzie Guillen over Castro comments but they should have fired him

Marlins suspend Ozzie Guillen over Castro comments but they should have fired him
Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie is being Ozzie.

No matter how much Ozzie Guillen apologizes for his misplaced respect and love of Fidel Castro, he will never be forgiven by the Cuban community in Miami.

"I feel like I betrayed the Latino community," Guillen said in Spanish at a press conference that was broadcast on ESPN Tuesday morning.

This is true. But his remarks are offensive to all people who believe in democracy.

The people in Cuba are not free. They are not free to travel. They are not free to vote for the leader of their choice. They are not even free to use the Internet.

I know this because I have friends who fled Cuba or still live in Cuba, and they have shared their stories with me.

One friend was so hungry that some days all he had to eat or drink was a glass of water with sugar.

I have another friend who was not able to legally live with his wife in Cuba. She was from another province and the government wouldn't give them a permit to live together because the square footage in his house was too small.

She was afraid walking around Havana of being stopped by the police and sent back to her province several hours away.

Average Cubans are not allowed to step foot in hotels that are reserved for tourists.

And of course there have been many political prisoners of Castro.

Ask any Cuban-American and they can tell you a story of struggle or suffering in Cuba.

To find out more about life in Cuba you should read an amazing writer and blogger Yoani Sanchez, who writes the Generation Y blog. She risks persecution and worse for her brave work.

Back to Ozzie.

The former Chicago White Sox manager deserves to be suspended by the Miami Marlins.

They have built a new stadium investing millions in the Little Havana section of Miami. They brought in the Venezuelan coach to help reach out to a Latino audience.

They made a big mistake. Marlins management should have known that Guillen has a big mouth.

In the press conference Tuesday morning, Guillen said that his comments were taken out of context by Time magazine and that they were a result of some mistranslation.

"I was thinking in Spanish but I said it wrong in English," he said.

But he still took responsibility for what he said.

"I hurt a lot of people and I'm aware of that," he said.

Guillen is a hypocrite.

Remember how Guillen chastised actor Sean Penn for praising iron-fisted Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez?

Well, Ozzie knows Chavez and Castro are best buddies.

Guillen deserves the suspension by the Marlins and more.

But no amount of suspension or apologies will undo the political damage he has caused and the economic impact it will have on the team.

The best thing Marlins management could do to repair the damage is to tell Ozzie, "Adios."

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  • This blog post caught my eye while reading about sports, and...

    Ozzie should be fired? What he said was ignorant, stupid, and misinformed. But he was also apologetic, contrite, and quick to try to reverse the path of damage. And what was the real damage inflicted anyway? Hurt feelings? We need to keep this in perspective. It was an offensive and insensitive thing to say. But it was not a crime, and there is no harm to any individual as a result. Ozzie was suspended and that is appropriate - he needs to understand hurtful words can have consequences. But firing him would be rash, over the top, and beyond any recognizable proportional response.

  • In reply to stakfry526:

    You actually believe Ozzie meant his apology?

    He only apologize because he knows his job was on the line?

    To think that he only got a 5 game suspension is truly a joke.

    We here in Chicago by June he will say something again so out of the box like he did daily as manager of the white sox.

    Not only do you have to watch his mouth both his sons both have big nasty splits in their faces.

    If Ozzie stays true to himself it wont be long before he lets his mouth over ride his brain.

  • In reply to BullySixChicago:

    There should be no censorship whatsoever, whether it be in online discussion or public speaking. Such punishments serve to press the notion that the public is not able to cope with and handle unpopular or incorrect statements, and this responsibility should be theirs, not corporations or the government.

  • In reply to stakfry526:

    Ozzie is an idiot. At first I enjoyed his outspoken personality. But then it turned to stupidity then insulting. This man has insulted a lot of people. His latest is an epic insult and completely insensitive to the hard working Latino's that defected a repressive and self-serving regime. Yes, he apologized but only after management forced him to. Even then he said it was a misinterpretation (amazingly the misinterpretation was his own). Ozzie should have been either fired or suspended for at least 10 games. 5 games is a slap on the wrist for the big mouthed idiot.

  • As a Chicago-area resident listening to Guillen's insanity ad nauseum in his barely discernable English, I came to realize that Mr. Guillen is ALWAYS "apologetic, contrite and quick to try to reverse the path of damage". Someone needs to shut him up - whether it be through firing him or having him committed to an appropriate rubber-walled facility where he can babble to his heart's content about anything that comes to his ignorant, insensitive mind. I feel sorry for the Marlins - they must not have realized just how insane Guillen is, despite his run of loud-mouthed insanity with the Chicago White Sox. Just please don't send him back to Chicago - send him to Cuba!

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    In reply to Adrienne6418:

    Where the not being tortured, killed and starved under Batista? Yes they were. That is what brought on the revolution. Now the US has engaged in economic warfare. It has used a police state to prevent me from being able to go to Cuba on vacation and buying cigars and sugar at prices that would put our sugar and cigar prices to shame. The US trades with China because it can buy stuff from slave labor camps and borrow trillions of dollars in a country where people are even prevented from killing themselves and to strike would result in a 12-year prison sentence. So, please stop this hypocrisy before I vomit.

  • In reply to Lysander Spooner:

    Exactly! Fidel Castro is no saint but it is certainlly understandable why the Cuban Revolution was successful. Under Bautista, Cuba was essentially a playground for the wealthy! Interestingly, just yesterday, a friend criticized Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union. Well, had the United States not turned its back on this small countrfy post-Revolution, Cuba might nont have HAD to turn to the USSR for support!

  • In reply to Lysander Spooner:

    Please! Two wrongs don't make a right!! Its not about Castro vs. Batista. You people just don't get it. Castro took over Cuba with our backing and then stabbed us in the back by announcing his allegiance to communism. He then sided with Russia and attempted to point nuclear missiles at us all the while imprisoning innocent people. There was mass defection for a reason. How quickly you forget.

  • In reply to Lysander Spooner:

    Well said! I tire of the whole mentality of punishing people for expressing unpopular opinions. If the station had not televised what he said, no one would even know, so why not punish the media for giving him a platform to say these things? That's a rhetorical question, by the way. So is this: why not punish all Apple products owners for encouraging slave labor so that they can have their upscale toys? Where does it stop?

  • For the first time I agree 100% with this blog. If Ozzie loves dictators so much (Castro, Chavez) he should get the hell out of my country and go live under the tyranny he admires.

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    In reply to publiusforum:

    It's not "your" Country, it's "our" Country. America doesn't deport people for their opinions. You sound like a totalitarian yourself. Ozzie is an idiot, sure, but he coaches baseball and his employers should deal with it how they see fit.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Yeah - who wouldn't prefer living in the United States, which has one of the highest disparities in income between the wealthy and the poor??!! Now, again, I am not saying that leaders like Chavez and Castro are perfect but at least they came into power because people in those countries were fed up with economic inequality!

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Well Wally, I see since no one reads your blog you are forced to cry for attention on someone else's. Ozzie has a right to his opinion. Period. It is anti-American to believe otherwise. The Cubans in Miami are as bad as Fidel and you.

  • In reply to SouthSideGT:

    Again, well said. I lived in Miami and the Cuban community seemed to be so right wing as to make Joe McCarthy blush.

  • I think the Marlins knew in part what they were getting with Ozzie, at least generally. Stupid comments don't get people fired as much as the should or "should" get them fired.

    By the way publiusforum, I know you right wingers aren't too keen on the Bill of Rights or the First Amendment, but they still stand firm despite what FoxNews and the "git outta mah country" xenophobes have to say about it.

    Dumb comments or not, that's a good thing.

  • In reply to Andy Frye:

    All the 1st Amendment says is that the GOVERMENT cannot limit free speech. It doesn't provide any protections against being fired for staying stupid things that damage your employer's business.

    BTW, the 1st Amendment is in the Bill of Rights so it it cannot be the "Bill of Rights or the First Amendment" as they are the same thing. You really need to be careful who you call dumb or stupid.

    The fact you don't understand something then proceed to bash others understanding of it while calling them stupid really makes you look a little, well "goofy". Back to school for you......

  • In reply to dtechba:

    "Bill of Rights or the First Amendment" is totally correct English. Redundant but by means incorrect... "goofy"

  • In reply to dtechba:

    The Bill of Rights and the First Amendment are not the same thing. While the First Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, I believe what AF was saying is that he feels Right Wingers aren't too keen on the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment in particular, or he meant to say the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights in general.

  • In reply to Andy Frye:

    Apparently Andy Frye has no clue what the First Amendment pertains to. Typical.

  • And besides, Gloria Estefan will have a song out about this flap in no time...

  • I think it is ironic that we can't even have our own opinions in this anticommunistic country that preaches free speech! It is not like he is saying anything bad about Cubans and the culture! It is ridiculous and no better than being in Cuba.

  • In reply to suzie4295:

    That's the point though. Many Cubans suffered at the hands of Castro, destroying their culture along with their identity. While we can have our opinions who are you, Ozzie, or I to decided what offends the Cuban population?? That's where it gets tricky. Just because we have freedom of speech doesn't mean we should always talk.

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    In reply to dn71:

    Where the not being tortured, killed and starved under Batista? Yes they were. That is what brought on the revolution. Now the US has engaged in economic warfare. It has used a police state to prevent me from being able to go to Cuba on vacation and buying cigars and sugar at prices that would put our sugar and cigar prices to shame. The US trades with China because it can buy stuff from slave labor camps and borrow trillions of dollars in a country where people are even prevented from killing themselves and to strike would result in a 12-year prison sentence. So, please stop this hypocrisy before I vomit.

  • In reply to dn71:

    I also doesn't mean that one needs to be walking on pins and needles scared of what they might say or who they might offend someone. I personally feel that stating you "hate" something or someone is more offensive.

  • Is 5 days enough punishment? What is enough for this vile mouthed ignoramus? Maybe a few weeks of community service in the Cuban section of the city. Let the people explain to him, in depth, exactly what they lived through with Fidel Castro. Ozzie Guillen doesn't understand being remorseful, he may say that one day, but by the next, he paints himself as the victim.

  • If a comedian had said this on the stage, would there be people outside the Comedy Club with torches and pitchforks? As someone who's been a constant target of negative media, it's clear what Ozzie's intention was in saying what he said. And I do find it sad and ironic that everyone's calling for Ozzie to be punished for something he said about a man who's famous for punishing his own people for things that they say. It's interesting that people who risked so much to come to the U.S. to escape the tyranny of Castro see no problem in abandoning the First Amendment in response to Guillen.
    Do you all really believe that Ozzie Guillen literally "loves" Fidel Castro and what he stands for?

  • You left out the part that tells people why the revolution happened in the first place. If people looked up what really happened back then not the one-sided argument you would find out that Cubans with African descent say one thing about Cuba and the Cubans with European descent say another. Ozzie didn't really say anything that merited a suspension.

  • In reply to Evan Moore:

    Good point. Bautista was another puppet US president. Like the one we put in Vietnam, iraq, and any country the US pretends to "liberate". Don't talk like there was no suffering in Cuba before Castro when the country was full of nothing but American Mafia runned casinos.

  • I think Ozzie should be as free as the Hollywood dopes to say what he wishes about Killer Castro or any dictator, including those that are homegrown.

    I've been to Cuba several times, and what is stated in the blog is true. Cuba is not free. What Evan is saying, I think, is that Afro-Cubans, who were third-class citizens before the Castro Revolution, are not on an equal par with the Spanish Cubans. This is also true. All are equally poor and enslaved.

    My friend who finally made it to the US several years back had this to say about the Cuban Revolution:

    The 3 Successes of the Revolution: Medicine, Sports and Education.
    The 3 Failure of the Revolution: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

    We had Cuban minders chasing us around, and the tourist hotel rooms are bugged.

    Still, if Ozzie loves a Commie Killer Revolutionary, who cares? After all, he got along with Richard Daley.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Meant to say :Afro-Cubans ARE now on an equal par...

  • I appreciate all your comments and the dialogue.
    Of course Ozzie is free to voice his opinion. But he works for a company that has a right to punish him if he does something that hurts the team irreparably.
    And it's true there was racial inequality before Castro. But that hasn't really changed since Castro. Those who work in government and support Castro get access to the benefits. The rest of the population barely makes enough money to buy toothpaste or toilet paper. The average wage in Cuba amounts to less than $20 per month.

  • In reply to Teresa Puente:

    Teresa, yes Ozzie works for a company that can fire him for what he says or does, but this is a position that is forgotten, mostly, when the diatribe is against some liberal pet cause. Then, all is usually forgiven.

    Yes, those who work for the government or who the snitches in the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), reap the benefits. We are seeing the same degradation here in the US. You are connected; you are politically correct; you get the goods.

    This is the important lesson of what happens when everything becomes political.

    I have seen with my own eyes the empty government bodegas, where the promised subsistence from the government -- in the form of rice and peas-- is not there. The bodega says "maybe tomorrow". Tomorrow, nothing. Just like the day before.

    The Cuban people are suffering, and the young people know the truth, because try as the Castro's will, the truth seeps through. Enough foreign visitors come from all over that nothing is a secret.

    And you are right, Afro-Cubans are at the bottom of the deal, despite the lip service paid.

    I still say Ozzie can say what he wishes. If the team fires him, so be it, but I would like to see some similar outrage when Sean Penn licks the crumbs from Castro's beard and considers it manna from heaven. But never. Why?

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    And when Cuba had "democracy" people were executed and jailed for opposing corruption and imperialism. The US has waged economic war on Cuba and prevented it from developing democratic institutions. So, the Cuban people must rely on a police state to feed them. In the U.S. the corporate and banking elite rely on a police state and compliant media to crush protest and maintain corrupt banking institutions, a corrupt police state and a corrupt media. We have a higher standard of living now because we oppress many people and enforce poverty and starvation on the nations of other people. When the US overthrew Iran's government in 1953 and destabilized their country for years and the Brits stole their oil for years the Iranian people lived in squalor and were tortured for years. Let's talk about the right-wing death squads and torture and murder of priests and nuns by the School of the America graduates. 98% of Americans are ignorant of economics, history, geopolitics, war, and media thought control and manipulation. They vote for clowns like Bush, Clinton, Obama and now Romney and wonder why they keep getting the same results. Now our government tortures, assassinates, murders and jails people without trial. The US sounds a lot like Cuba. Will Americans ever wake up? To find out about torture, murder and corruption Google "Operation Patriot Conspiracy", or "Operation PATCON Trentadue". Then let's hear all your patriotic nonsense.

  • In reply to Lysander Spooner:

    Lysander, you do not know what you are talking about, sorry.

    Even if what you say were true about Cuba back then, what about now? There are many countries that have been investing in Cuba since the fall of the old Soviet Union. In Cuba, guess who your partner is if you build a new hotel....the Cuban government, which owns 51% of your enterprize.

    It's about control. It always has been about control in Cuba. No matter what pressures there were from the US, Castro was/is a mass murderer.

    The US will become more like Cuba as the electorate gets more divided, and each and every day the person fomenting that divide, leaves his humble public housing abode on 1600 Penn Ave and does his best to "fundamentally changed" this country.

  • So everyone that has a different political opinion from you should be fired and blacklisted? You're delusional if you think this country is anywhere near "free". More like "freaking expensive". I'm not a fan of Castro, but why are we so afraid of open discussion and debate in this country?

  • In reply to FellowTraveler:

    I agree with FellowTraveler: everybody should say what they wish.

    And the country is not free, thanks to the progressive fascist thought that has created our own police state. If a private institution wants to fire them or pull advertising, that is their business. Nobody had croc tears for Rush Limbaugh.

    Of course, I would not look to Cuba for cheap things. The things that are not underwritten by the government are horribly expensive -- if you can find them. And the Cuban gov't, like the US gov't, is out of $$$$.

  • If the Marlins manager was of Irish decent - and not Hispanic - he would be unemployed right now. Yes, you are free to say whatever misguided inflammatory thing that pops into your head, and your employer is free to fire you for it. Freedom works both ways.

  • Funny. I thought Guillen was hired to manage a baseball team.

  • What Ozzie said was insensitive but lets think about this... Cuban's are upset about Ozzie speaking his mind and feelings.. It isn't a crime, and isn't this the problem in Cuba anyways. Cuba is under dictatorship and I find it funny that the same freedom Cubans seek, are practicing the ways of the dictator. Don't go to the Marlin games if you dislike Ozzie. This whole public outcry for him being fired is just ridiculous. We are becoming a country that can't speak our minds because it offends one person or another.. Like I said, he was insensitive and clearly not thinking of what he said, but to take it to another level like this is just ridiculous...

  • The new American pastime: making sure people are fired - lives destroyed - for saying stupid things. No longer land of the free, we are now the land of the sanctimonious. Holier than thou. Holy smoke!

  • Isn't it it ironic that the author notes her disdain of Cuban policy yet wishes for the same process to be used for the same outcome to be had simply because she finds it unhealthy for the opinion of an individual to be so out of step with the wishes of the collevctive.

  • This doens't have jack to do with disrespect or insensitivity from the Marlins standpoint....this is about money. The Marlins are afraid of boycotts, demonstrations, violence, etc from the Cuban community in Miami.

  • For him to say such things in Miami is just plain stupid. every where you look, in Miami, you see Cubans most who have family in Cuba or have come directly from Cuba themselves. I find it hard to believe he did this for any other reason than attention, he craves controversy.

  • Sorry, the Cubans of Miami don't go to Marlins games anyway. They should have put that stadium in Broward County where most of the actual game going fans reside. As for Fidel and the Miami Cubans, they should have stayed in Cuba and fought against Castro instead of running away to Miami where they sit around and whine about their beloved Cuba.

  • He's a baseball manager, not a politician. If he said this in Chicago do you think there would have been the outcry . . . of coure not. I'll bet those complaining the loudest have never been to a Marlins game (see latest attendance figures) and aren't baseball fans but know how to exploit such a matter. Suspension, fine; firing, absurd.

  • Stupid comment? Yes.
    But is Ozzie an elected official or a baseball manager? It's not like Obama is saying those things.
    We all have said things we shouldn't have said at one point and odds are you didn't lose your job over it.

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    For an article championing democracy, you sure do talk a lot about how people who love democracy should feel. And how a private business in a democracy should act. And how someone expressing an opinion you don't agree with should be treated (namely, being fired).

    I suppose to you democracy and freedom are mutually exclusive.

  • Nicely said

  • Fire Ozzie? How about Sean Penn and Michael Moore who visited Catsro and made positive comments about him and not only did not offer any apology, but were proud of such statements. Which brings us to Hanoi Jane who while in North Vietnam behind an anti-aircraft gun sadi she wished she could shoot down an American pilot. At another time such actions and words would be considered treason, punishible by death. And her punishment? A starring role in a movie about Nancy Reagan. These are the people who should be fired.

  • Ozzie is no longer in Chicago, yet he still makes the front page of the Sun-Times. WHY?

    This is not news.

    Move along, spare us the ravings of the former village idiot, and use the training you received when you earned your Journalism degree to report the NEWS.

  • Ozzie was a great player and is a great manager. Who really cares that one man in America respects one single aspect of an evil dictator. He clarified in a manner which was concise and straight forward why he repsects ONE thing of Castro. I have not lost any respect for Guillen.

  • In reply to jesselesniak:

    I agree. I'm not a fan of Castro's, but both the healthcare system and the literacy rate in Cuba are better than they are here. So he did do a few things right.

  • Horse feathers. I'm offended daily by garbage like this column but I don't write your editor to have you fired - and you're not even a baseball manager.

    How much effort have the Castros invested in assassinating a U.S. President? For that reason alone, I have a certain amount of respect for Fidel. In my opinion, there is a segment of the Cuban-American community that, though codled and given special treatment, is far more Cuban than American, and whose roots are from those favored under Batista - who was no less dictatorial than the Castros.

    Hang in there, Ozzie..

  • It is so ridiculous that Ozzie is really being mis-interpreted here. What Ozzie meant he respects Castro for being in control of Cuba even when a super power like the US trying to kill/unseat him. And Cuba is so close geographically to US compared to North Korea or Iraq or some other country which had dictators. When US does business with a child labor/no environment concern country like China and is one of our biggest trade partners...this is really big-time hypocrisy.
    Lot of people admired Saddam Hussein in a strange way because of the guts he had to fight against the USA. That doesn't mean they like his policies or not happy to see him gone. There were a lot of educated people in Asia who supported Saddam in the 1992 war just because he was standing up against a giant. Those people had no investment in either the US or Iraq. They were just supporting an underdog in the war without thinking the whole thing thoroughly. That doesn't mean they would fight for Saddam or give him aid. It is just "stupid talk" like Fox News or MSNBC news or talk Radio.

    I understand the trouble the Cuban Americans have gone through with Castro. The only reason Ozzie should be fired is because of a business issue where Cuban American Marlins fans stop watching/buying their games because they are stupid enough to associate Castro's crimes with Ozzie talk.

  • Ozzie has a right to his opinion. Period. It is anti-American to believe otherwise. The Cubans in Miami are as bad as Fidel.

  • Teresa, you better check with ChicagoNow's ad department. There was an ad for insight/Cuba promoting travel to Cuba for Americans.
    "Discover Cuba through it's people" Sounds like they have nothing to hide. Here's the web address I got from the ad

    http://www.insightcuba.com/

    Judging by the web site...Cuba looks pretty nice

  • Maybe the blogger (bullsh*tlogger) should be sent to siberia.
    obviously doesnt believe in freedom of speech.
    Fidel Castro and Co. overthrew the corrupt regime of Bautisa and all of those slave owning landowners and corrupt politicians fled to miami. so now its their snot nose children crying foul. Castro asked for US aide after the revolution but was dismissed and looked to the ussr for support. I;ve meet people from cuba. they say the government will take care of you just cant saying anything bad about it. with bloggers like these, same thing in the US.
    I suppose if there was a little Lybia with the children of Ghadafi living there and someone says it was great for Lybia to end tyrany, that person should be thrown in a well according to this lame blogger.

  • Vive la cuba libre!

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