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Ozzie Guillen, the outspoken former manager of the Chicago White Sox, once again finds himself in the media spotlight after the eccentric baseball veteran spoke somewhat favorably of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in a Time magazine interview. The Marlins suspended Guillen for five days after comments he made saying he admired the oppressive leader and his ability to survive and saying that “I love Fidel Castro.”

Guillen’s comments sparked a series of protest from the Latino community, particularly in Miami where many Cuban nationals reside, prompting the Marlins organization to release a statement to settle the tension that rose after the interview. 

“The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen,” the Marlins organization offered in a statement. “The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”

Guillen, who typically sticks to his convictions no matter how improperly delivered, was humble in the wake of the controversy. The Venezuela-born Guillen spoke in his frank style at points during a Tuesday (April 10) news conference held by the team.  Guillen looked worn but his apologies sounded sincere.

“The funny thing is I thought the next time I see this room with this many people is with the World Series trophy next to me.,” said Guillen during the conference.  “[The Marlins] hired me to manage a ball club, not talk politics.”

Baseball fans may recall back in 2006 when Guillen was managing the White Sox club, he called Chicago sports columnist Jay Mariotti. While he apologized for the slur, he remained vocally critical of the writer.


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Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images