10 April 2012
Since last Friday, when Ozzie Guillen's Time Magazine quotes came out, the fire storm and negative momentum towards Ozzie has continued to swell in Miami, this despite the fact that Ozzie done nothing but apologize since. On Monday Ozzie went on to the Marlins Spanish broadcast to apologize to the fans, and then he apologize personally to Jose Contaras, a Cuban born pitcher for the Phillies, and Contraras did accept his apology. With Cuban American groups in Miami vowing to boycott Marlins games, people calling in to sports and Spanish radio stations calling for Ozzie to be fired, and local politicians saying that the Marlins should fire their manager, Guillen decided to use the Marlins day off to day to fly back to Miami and address the media. Then with 15 minutes to go before the press conference began it was announced that effective immediately he would be suspended for five games.
The with dozens of protesters outside the stadium looking up at the big screen and with just about every local media channel interrupting their broadcast, Ozzie Guillen sat down alone in the large interview room at Marlins Park at 10:40am and gave what seemed like a very apology, where he did get a little choked up. Ozzie came out speaking in Spanish, which is something that even Dan Lebatard on Mike and Mike earlier that morning suggested that he do, both because it is his native language so it would be easier for him to communicate and also because the people he needs to address the most are predominantly Spanish speaker. According to Ozzie what he said was altered slightly when his quotes in Time Magazine was misinterpreted as he was trying to put his thoughts, which are in Spanish into English words. What he was trying to say was that he was simply surprised that Fidel Castro has been able to stay in power as long as he has with everything that he has done. Guillen said that he is very embarrassed and sad about the whole situation and that he will accept the Marlins decision to suspend him for the five games. Ozzie says that he plans to be in Miami for a long time and he will do what ever is in his power to help the Cuban and Latino community.
Several quotes from Guillen just so you get what he said in his apology: "I'm sorry I hurt the city, the community,. It was not intentional but I did it. .. I would like to apologize." "I feel like I betrayed the Latin community." "I'm here to say im sorry with my heart in my hands. I'm here on my knees apologizing to all the Latin American communities." "Pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship."
Ozzie did try to make it as clear as possible that he does not support any action taken by Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez, and that he is extremely sorry for any pain that he has caused those in the Latin American community. He also said that he understands and says that people have a right to be upset about his comments. According to Ozzie he has only ever apologised twice for comments that he has made, and he does it because he is truly sorry for what he said. He offered to go and talk to local business owners and individuals in the Cuban communities if the Marlins Ownership wanted him to. Ozzie says that this was one of the biggest mistakes of his life and that he will learn from it, an maybe he has because it seemed like for the first time Ozzie seemed to actually think about his response to a question a little before answering it. Guillen also vowed that his will be the last time that he would ever talk about politics.
While I understand the context in which the quote was said, I am also simply just a white guy who grew up in central Connecticut. I really do not have a direct connection to the people who Ozzie's comments have upset. So when I heard the context of the quotes I new that they were a horrible thing to say, but I understood that he is not saying that he likes Castro's politics but rather that he just likes the fact that Castro has despite everyone being against him he was survived and stayed in power. I also understood that Ozzie Guillen who talks first and thinks about what he says afterwords, so I personally put very little stock into what Ozzie says.
But older Cubans who have lost loved ones and still remember their fight to escape Cuba, many of whom live Little Havana where the new Marlins Park is located, do not care about the context. The fact is, is that Fidel Castro in Miami is like Osama Bin Ladin and Adolf Hitler in the rest of America, just one of those people that you are just not allowed to say anything positive about them. Personally I do not believe that he should be fired and the Marlins Organization does not want to fire him, and he will not be fired in the immediate future but at some point if their is a large scale ban and protest from the Cuban community the team maybe forced to get rid of him in the future. While no one comment he could say today could completely undo what he has said, but he did seem to say a lot of the right things and hopefully this will be the first big step to putting this all behind us.
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