(PhatzRadio / USA Today) — Ozzie Guillen was suspended five games by the Miami Marlins in advance of a news conference this morning where he explained his explosive comments about Fidel Castro, words that have set off protests in the middle of the community where the Miami Marlins have built their new stadium and among fans the team hope to woo.
“I’m sorry that I hurt the community without any intention,” Guillen said in Spanish. “I’m here to say I’m sorry.”
Guillen, the first-year manager of the Marlins, made a special trip back to Miami from Philadelphia on an off-day for the team so he could explain comments in a Time magazine article praising Castro.
The news conference was held at the new ballpark built in the Little Havana section of Miami and was broadcast on video screens in the plaza outside the stadium.
The Venezuelan Guillen said in the Time article that he “loves” Castro and respects him for being able to say in power for more than 50 years.
Guillen has since said he regrets the comments and has had sleepless nights.
Some local officials in Miami have called for punishment for Guillen, even removing him from his job.
Guillen made similar comments in a 2008 article for Men’s Journal magazine, comments extensive enough to shed some light on Guillen’s feelings on the issue.
When asked, “Who’s the toughest man you know,” Guillen named Castro.
He said, “He’s a bull … dictator and everybody’s against him and he still survives, has power. … I don’t admire his philosophy, I admire him.”