The Miami Marlins have suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games after an interview in Time in which Guillen made comments interpreted as pro-Castro. Guillen said he "love[s] Fidel Castro…I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still there."
At a press conference in Miami, today, Guillen apologized to the large Cuban exile community in South Florida:
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."
The Marlins, in announcing the suspension, had this to say:
"The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen. The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship."
It's not the first time Guillen has been complimentary of Castro, and has spoken in the past both highly and critically of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. As Dave Zirin writes, "when looking for political consistency and clarity, Ozzie Guillen is not the best place to start." Guillen's suspension isn't about the politics of Communism but the economics of Capitalism—the new Marlins Park, in Little Havana, needs the Cuban community to support the team. This is just damage control, of the sort that Ozzie Guillen's employers are used to.