Yesterday, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for five games for his comments he made about former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, which included Guillen saying “I love Fidel Castro” in an interview he did for Time Magazine.
This is much different than anything Guillen has said before. In Chicago, he was often in trouble for bad-mouthing umpires, management of other teams, or beat writers. Now, he’s gone to a whole new level.
He begged and begged for his apology to be accepted, especially in the Latin areas of Miami and southern Florida. “Calle Ocho,” a neighborhood close to the Marlins’ new ballpark, consists of mostly Latin-Americans, including many Cubans. This was the fanbase ownership was trying to tap into when they chose the location and personnel for the franchise. Now that Guillen has made these comments, however, all that effort may go to waste. I would expect boycotting of games and even go as far as fearing for the safety of Ozzie Guillen because this is a very, very serious thing he said. Family members of some of the residents in the area were jailed, mistreated, or even killed by Fidel Castro’s government, and now Guillen is praising him? This is absolutely unacceptable. He should have been fired on the spot for this.
The comments Guillen made hit so many nerves in the Latin community, which may ruin Guillen’s already so-so reputation, but also the efforts the Marlins have put into making Miami, and “Calle Ocho,” a perfect fit.