Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

'On His Knees,' Guillen Suspended over Remarks

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

'On His Knees,' Guillen Suspended over Remarks

Article excerpt

Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Miami Marlins, has been suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro.

While Ozzie Guillen apologized repeatedly in a Miami news conference for his recent remarks that he admired Fidel Castro, the Marlins also tried to undo the damage their manager had wrought by announcing that Guillen would be suspended for five games.

Guillen , whom the Marlins directed to leave the team in Philadelphia to fly back to Miami, appeared at a televised news conference and called his comments, "the greatest mistake of my life."

"I'm on my knees," Guillen said in Spanish.

Guillen's comments appeared in a Time magazine article, in which he said he "loved" and "respected" Castro, the longtime Cuban leader. Time reported that Guillen said: "I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years," but Castro is still here, he added, referring to Castro as an expletive.

Guillen has long been known for igniting firestorms of his own making, including being fined by his former employer, the Chicago White Sox, for a homophobic slur directed at a newspaper reporter in 2006. He was fired by the White Sox last season largely because the club had grown tired of his tempestuous nature, often directed toward his own bosses.

"I say a lot of things and I never apologize," he said at the news conference. "But now I have to because I did the wrong thing. I'm behind the Cuban community."

The Marlins hired him in the off-season, signing him to a four- year, $10 million contract, hoping to court more Latino fans to the team's new stadium, which sits in the neighborhood known as Little Havana.

Instead, barely a week into his first season, Guillen sent Little Havana into an uproar. There have been discussions among local groups about boycotting the team and perhaps picketing the games. …

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