The Miami Marlins suspended divisive skipper Ozzie Guillen on Tuesday for remarks he made about his admiration for Fidel Castro. Guillen told Time Magazine that he loves Castro and respects his staying power. This is Guillen’s first year as manager of the Miami Marlins, a year in which the franchise built a state-of-the-art stadium in the predominantly Cuban neighborhood of Little Havana. The Venezuelan manager made comments a few years ago about his admiration for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, which didn’t win him any fans in the Venezuelan-American community.
Ozzie is known for being quite outspoken and controversial, to say the least. The comments about Castro would have been contrarian if made in any city, but to make it in Miami is disrespectful to the vast Cuban population in the city. Obviously the uproar was swift and strong, and some are calling for him to be fired just a few games into this young season. Cuban community protesters rallied outside of the stadium and demanded Guillen's firing (see picture above). Guillen has apologized multiple times, including at a news conference with 100 reporters in attendance. The fans may force management's hand to fire him.
There is precedent for a suspension for remarks made about controversial world leaders. In the late 1990s, then-owner of the Cincinatti Reds, Marge Schott, fondly spoke of Adolf Hitler and made generally inflammatory racial statements. Major League Baseball suspended her from ownership duties for a full season. Hopefully Ozzie keeps his mouth shut long enough to make it through a full season with the Marlins.
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