Ozzie Guillen accepted full responsibility for his comments about Fidel Castro and expressed extreme regret and embarrassment during a press conference at Marlins Park on Tuesday morning.
Speaking moments after his five-game suspension was announced by the Miami Marlins, Guillen said he did not mean to say he loved and respected the Cuban dictator in a Time magazine interview.
“I was thinking in Spanish and I said it wrong in English,” said Guillen, who answered questions in both his native Spanish and English during the press conference.
“I’m not saying the journalist was wrong. I was wrong. I had one thing in mind and I said something else.”
Guillen, from Venezuela, said repeatedly that he does not admire Castro -- “a person who has caused a lot of damage, a lot of pain,” he said -- even if that’s how his comments came out.
“I don’t want to make any excuses,” he said. “What I wanted to say was I was surprised Fidel Castro stayed in power so long.”
Throughout the press conference, which lasted more than 45 minutes, Guillen apologized many times.
“I feel like I betrayed my Latin community,” he said. “I’m here to say I’m sorry with my heart in my hands.”
He added: “I will do everything in my power to make it better. I’m very, very, very sorry.”
Guillen also said his five-game suspension is without pay, although “that is the last thing I’m going to think about right now.” He said he will apologize to the ballclub tomorrow for letting them down.
“It’s a very sad situation ... [to] not be there for them,” he said. “But “I respect the decision. I will take it, whatever they want me to do.”