Advertisement

Should Ozzie Guillen be punished for his Fidel Castro comments?

April 09, 2012
  • Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen called a special meeting with reporters to apologize for his recent comments about Fidel Castro.
Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen called a special meeting with reporters… (Jeff Roberson / Associated…)

Ozzie Guillen has caused some controversy less than a week into his first season as manager of the Miami Marlins. That didn't take long, did it?

The ever-outspoken Guillen, a former World Series-winning manager of the Chicago White Sox, has apologized for comments he made regarding Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in Time magazine.

Guillen, from Venezuela, told the magazine that he loves Castro and respects him for staying in power so long. He held a closed-door meeting with the Marlins' beat writers Saturday to apologize for the statements.

“I will apologize if I hurt somebody's feelings, or I hurt somebody's thought,” Guillen told the writers. “I want them to know I'm against everything 100% — I repeat it again — the way this man [has been] treating people for the last 60 years.”

The Marlins released a statement of their own in response to Guillen's comments in the magazine: “There is nothing to respect about Fidel Castro.

“He is a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship, and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today.”

Writers from around Tribune Co. will discuss whether Guillen should be punished for his comments. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

[Updated at 10:37 a.m.:

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times

Should Ozzie Guillen be punished for speaking his mind? No, not if the Marlins believe in free speech.

However, South Florida has only a tenuous relationship with free speech -- especially regarding Cuba. It wasn’t too long ago that failing to criticize Castro with sufficient fervor could get your home or office firebombed. In that context admitting you admire the man, as Guillen did, is akin to a declaration of war.

And Guillen, a former Marlins coach who has long maintained a home in South Florida, certainly knows that.

Guillen’s comments put the team in a tough spot at a time when it was opening the doors to a new $515- million home in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana, the most rabidly anti-Castro piece of real estate on Earth. But Guillen’s charm is his frankness, and the Marlins accepted that when they hired him. Punishing him for speaking his mind is the wrong thing to do.]

[Updated at 12:38 p.m.:

Steve Gould, Baltimore Sun

Punish Ozzie Guillen for what, speaking his mind?

What Guillen said to Time magazine — that he loves Fidel Castro and respects him for staying in power when so many people have wanted him dead for decades — was obviously offensive to many, especially in Miami’s Cuban American community.

It seems like Guillen was trying to be humorous and make the kind of high-shock-value comments that everyone has come to expect from him. But whether he even meant what he said is beside the point.

Guillen expressed an opinion, and as unpopular as it might’ve been, punishing him is the wrong course of action. He has since apologized and attempted to clarify his comments. That should be enough.

Trying to muzzle baseball’s most outspoken and colorful character by sanctioning him would be nearly as distasteful as making light of a dictator’s abuse of his people.

Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

Gaby Sanchez, the Marlins' first baseman of Cuban heritage, describes the latest Ozzie Guillen firestorm as "drama for nothing." In the big sense, he's totally right, as 99.9% of what Guillen says is nonsense that is intended to entertain, with shock value always in play.

It's better to judge people by their actions, not their words, but what's the difference between saying you love Fidel Castro or Hitler? Leaders lead, they don't just try to be provocative. Guillen, given his position, crossed a line and should face meaningful discipline.]

ALSO:

Dodger Stadium: Top 10 moments

Some things never get old, like baseball's purity, and Vin Scully

Bubba Watson: Did he make the best shot Sunday at the Masters?

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Should Ozzie Guillen be punished for his Fidel Castro comments?

Should Ozzie Guillen be punished for speaking his mind? No, not if the Marlins believe in free speech.

However South Florida has only a tenuous relationship  with free speech -- especially regarding Cuba. It wasn’t too long ago that failing to criticize Castro with sufficient fervor could get your home or office firebombed. In that context admitting you admire the man, as Guillen did, is akin to a declaration of war.

And Guillen, a former Marlins coach who has long maintained a home in South Florida, certainly knows that.

Guillen’s comments put the team in a tough spot at a time when it was opening the doors to a new $515 million home in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana, the most rapdily anti-Castro piece of real estate on Earth. But Guillen’s charm is his frankness and the Marlins accepted that when they hired him. Punishing him for speaking his mind is the wrong thing to do.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|