Ozzie Guillen has apologized and tried to explain his seemingly pro-Fidel Castro comments. And the Miami Marlins have suspended their manager five games, starting Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, for the remarks.
But for some people in the U.S. city with the highest Cuban American population, those moves aren’t enough to heal the wounds caused by Guillen, who was quoted in a Time magazine article saying he loves and respects the Cuban dictator.
Even after the suspension was announced and a contrite Guillen held a nearly hour-long news conference Tuesday inside Marlins Park, a large group of protesters gathered outside calling for the Venezuelan manager’s ouster. Some local politicians have weighed in, looking for Guillen to be fired or forced to resign.
“I am flabbergasted there are not more people here incensed about what this guy said,” said Reinaldo Espinosa, a Cuban American who was one of the many people who watched Guillen’s apology on a video board outside the ballpark. “You can’t say hateful things and not pay the consequences. We all have it, but free speech when you’re a public figure, you can say what you want but there will be consequences.”
Espinosa told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that he will not attend any more Marlins games with Guillen as manager. “Never,” he said. “It’s a Guillen thing, not a Marlin thing.”
But the Sun Sentinel is also reporting that the Marlins players are supportive of their first-year manager, who won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox.
“I think everybody in that clubhouse looks up to Ozzie and what he’s done,” said catcher Jon Buck, the Marlins players’ representative. “You guys can feel the atmosphere he’s kind of changed in the clubhouse. And it’s all been positive.”
Buck added: “I feel like he doesn’t need to really apologize to me, but I’m not Cuban, I don’t know how it feels to have that looming over your family. I’m coming from a baseball aspect of it.”
First baseman Gaby Sanchez, a Miami native whose parents are Cuban exiles, is behind his manager as well.
“Definitely, you could see that he was very sincere in his apology,” he said. “It was good to see him out there apologizing and trying to set everything straight on what he said and what it was about. … We just have to move forward.”
What do you think? After Guillen’s apology and suspension, is it time to move forward? Or will it take nothing less than Guillen’s firing or resignation to allow the healing to begin? Express your opinion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment.