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  • 04/10/2012, 01:38AM ET

Ozzie Guillen shouldn't be suspended by MLB for his comments, but the Marlins should fire him.

C-C-C (397-169-39) vs Marlins Fan (156-78-31)
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Less than a week into the season, Ozzie Guillen is a dead man walking in Miami. The Latin manager with a big World Series ring and a bigger mouth was brought to South Florida to help resurrect a dilapidated franchise

Ozzie is much more than just the manager of the Marlins. Perhaps more than any other team, he is the face of the franchise in the community it represents. A franchise that hasn't been able to draw flies for years opens a new stadium and brings in the only manager that made sense...the crazy Latino who was a coach on the teams last World Series

Typically I'd say you know what you are getting with Ozzie when you hire him so when it happens, you have to bite the bullet and increase the PR staff for a while. That doesn't work here

This wasn't some off the cuff reference to Gays, or women, or umpires. This was the equivalent of a Jewish leader professing allegiance to Hitler in the middle of Tel Aviv. Ozzie can't blame this one on being misunderstood because of bad English. This wasn't a 'mistake'

Any other city and this would be blown off as Ozzie being Ozzie, but in little Cuba, this has the potential to destroy what's left of the Fan base


You said it yourself... you know what you're getting when you hire Ozzie.

Ozzie should not have been (and is not going to be) fired.

His comments definitely warranted a suspension, and IMO that suspension should've been substantially greater than the 5 game ban the Marlins handed down today. The message needed to be clear - the Marlins absolutely will not let their franchise be besmirched by a lone wolf's crazy and heartless comments. I would've been ok with a suspension of up to as much as 50 games.

But firing him would've been hasty and innapropriate.

For one thing, Guillen's language barrier was partially responsible for this incident. Guillen has made comments before and since that convey his true opinion - while he disagrees with Castro's politics, he admires the fact that Fidel retained power for so long when he had such a large bulls eye on his back.

In essense, Ozzie admires resilience. He could've worded his sentiment much better, but English isn't his first language. That has to be taken into consideration when judging his every word.


Bottom line - it's ok to punish the guy for his poor use of words but firing him would've been too much.


The "language barrier" argument was appropriate back in 1985 when Ozzie was a rookie SS. After 16 years of playing in the U.S., 12 more years of coaching and managing in the US, and becoming a US citizen (which requires a firm grasp of English) the "language barrier" argument is nothing but a tired crutch. Every time Ozzie gets in hot water he pulls the "My English isn't good" card. Just how many years of speaking English and interacting with English speaking people on a daily basis is necessary before that excuse no long works?

The problem isn't with his intent. Intent doesn't matter here. Any other city and this would be a 3 hour story, barely rating mention in the annals of Ozzieisms. But this isn't any other city. This happens to be the one city in the entire country where the populace despises the man he praised for very good and very personal reasons. This wasn't somewhere he could afford to screw up on that sensitive subject.

This is cheating on your wife, in front of her, with someone who killed her grandfather and uncle, while mocking her, then when you're finished saying "she doesn't mean anything to me baby, lets go home and make love"


Whether or not Ozzie's English played a role is a fact known to one person - Ozzie Guillen. And I believe him.

Why? Because he said a few years ago, and again today during his apology, that he does NOT support Castro's politics and only admires his longevity in the face of constant opposition.

It's a fair point; the example just sucks. In other words Ozzie has every right to admire Castro's resilience but vocalizing that admiration is dumb because of all the negativity that comes along with Castro. If Ozzie had made the same point about a less controversial figure it would've been easier for the public to swallow, but in all honesty that doesn't even matter.

See, you're wrong, CCC; intent does matter here. Ozzie was making a fair point but said it in such a convoluted way that now we have a ****-storm of controversy. But the most important thing is what Ozzie intended to say, and what he intended to say was not at all hurtful to Cubans or anyone else.


I don't like your analogy, so I'll offer my own:

This is like hearing of a guy cheating on his wife, and after you condemn the man for cheating you say "at least he did it with a really hot girl".


"I love Fidel Castro"

The interview could have stopped right there. That's all those folks in little Havana needed to hear and Ozzie was done in their eyes.

Ozzie pulled his usual "I no speak good English" as he does every time his foot ends up in his throat. But after 30 years in the States working with English speaking people every day and becoming an American Citizen, he doesn't understand the simple 4 word sentence above? He actually "intended" something else? Sorry, I'm not buying.

This was a prearranged interview for a magazine, not an off the cuff remark at a post game presser. If Ozzie's English were truly that bad is there any doubt he'd have done the interview in Spanish with an interpreter present? He knew what he was saying. He just didn't consider the blowback beforehand. He never does.

Intent does not matter because the people who have to be appeased couldn't care less about intent. You may care if he 'meant' something other than what he actually said, but most of Miami doesn't and that's all that matters. His lack of sensitivity on what is THE most sensitive issue warrants termination in Miami, not necessarily anywhere else.


You believe that the Cuban population should've stopped at "I love Fidel Castro". The comment he made was stupid, but too many people are looking at those four words in a vacuum. Ozzie said before/since that he doesn't agree with Castro's politics.

These knee-jerk reactions need to stop. It's the same mess we're in right now because of this Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman ordeal. We're picking sides, twisting the "facts" to serve our opinion. And it's not fair to any of the parties involved.

Guillen has repeatedly apologized and said he didn't mean to profess any allegiance to the dictator or his inhumane politics. We need to look at the whole picture and see this for what it is; a poorly worded mistake.

Mistakes don't require firing. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and better yourself, which Ozzie is doing.

There's a precedent here, mainly amongst liberals. This same issue of TIME magazine lists Che Guevara as a "hero and icon". Jesse Jackson, arm in arm with Castro, once shouted "Viva Fidel! Viva Che!". Former democratic presidential candidate George McGovern said he likes Fidel and considers him a friend. Same with Jimmy Carter.

Nobody fired them.

April 10, 2012  01:39 AM ET

If you don't want this MF, just let it die. I don't want to debate this with someone who doesn't know the ins and outs of Ozzie Guillen or the city of Miami.

April 10, 2012  05:08 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

**

IMO, he should be fired and later deported to Cuba along with his boyfriend, case closed.

April 10, 2012  05:24 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

**Rare photo of Castro and vacationer at a Miami Sound Machine concert.

April 10, 2012  05:38 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

IMO, he should be fired and later deported to Cuba along with his boyfriend, case closed.

That's his son

April 10, 2012  05:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

**That's his son

My bad, here is the correct photo from the Paparazzi.

April 10, 2012  05:49 AM ET

Conversation overheard Sunday Night:

Jeff Loria: "Ozzie! What have you done?!?"

Ozzie Guillen: "I fix our attendance problems, boss. I should get a raise!

Loria: What are you talking about? Ozzie, don't you remember when I told you that you can say anything you want about anyone you want as long as you DON'T say anything about Cuba or Castro?

Ozzie: $#%@! You don't know what you're !@#$ing talking about! You ain't Latino. I'm Latino! I know what #$%@ing Latino's want to hear so I told the dumb $%#@ing Cubans that I love their leader and I say lots of nice things about him. Now they will love me and the Marlins so I want more money!

Loria: Ozzie, you're going to get us both run out of Miami...or killed!

Ozzie: You dumb $#@%! Before me you have no fans. Now you will have lots of fans. All because of me. ME-ME-ME. If you don't give me a new $%#@ing contract right @#$%ing now I'm going to fly to Miami and say sorry, I no mean all those nice things about Castro. Then the fans will hate the Marlins again and you won't have no #@#$%ing fans!

Loria: Have a safe flight...oh, and Ozzie...I'd wear a bullet proof vest to the press conference if I were you.

April 10, 2012  05:52 AM ET

Are you silly, have you not heard of free speech, as for firing him get real.

April 10, 2012  05:56 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Are you silly, have you not heard of free speech, as for firing him get real.

Hi, nice to meet you.

April 10, 2012  05:58 AM ET

Truthfully, I'd bet that's not far from what happened.

Ozzie is a fiercely patriotic Venezuelan who is very loyal to "his good friend" Hugo Chavez. Guillen has also proven time and again to be almost completely ignorant of any and all political issues. I'd bet anything that believing all Latino's are patriots to their home country first and foremost, he assumed the Cuban's in Miami would appreciate his supposed allegiance to Castro.

Either that or he absolutely HATES the Marlins and is trying his damnedest to destroy the organization...

April 10, 2012  06:05 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Truthfully, I'd bet that's not far from what happened.Ozzie is a fiercely patriotic Venezuelan who is very loyal to "his good friend" Hugo Chavez. Guillen has also proven time and again to be almost completely ignorant of any and all political issues. I'd bet anything that believing all Latino's are patriots to their home country first and foremost, he assumed the Cuban's in Miami would appreciate his supposed allegiance to Castro. Either that or he absolutely HATES the Marlins and is trying his damnedest to destroy the organization...

Reminds me of a colleague that grew up in Asia. He doesn't know that his jokes are hurtful but we let it slide because he doesn't know any better/ignorant of the material.

April 10, 2012  06:09 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Are you silly, have you not heard of free speech, as for firing him get real.

**

April 10, 2012  06:12 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Are you silly, have you not heard of free speech, as for firing him get real.

Do explain what freedom of speech has to do with this issue? Before you answer that...for your sake...PLEASE have someone with a clue explain the first amendment to you, otherwise I'm going to absolutely destroy that idiotic statement.

After you fully understand that simple concept, then it's time for some real research on citizens of Miami, particularly the area around the Marlins ball park. You especially want to find out who they are, where they came from, and why they have the attitude on the subject at hand that they do.

Judging from your "free speech" argument, I'd guess you're bright enough that we'll see you back some time in 2015 with an answer...

April 10, 2012  06:18 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Reminds me of a colleague that grew up in Asia. He doesn't know that his jokes are hurtful but we let it slide because he doesn't know any better/ignorant of the material.

Yeah, that doesn't fly here, though. Ignorance is not an excuse when we are talking about the reputation of a billion dollar business.

Seriously, if you hired a Hollywood writer to draw up a script of what NOT to say if you are the Manager of the Miami Marlins, they would have returned almost exactly what Ozzie said.

Comment #14 has been removed
April 10, 2012  08:53 AM ET

OH REALLY, Try this your comments are founded on what he said and not his abality to Manager A baseball Team, Let it go there is a lot more important this going on in the world.

April 10, 2012  09:06 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

That's exactly it. I Know Ozzie is all buddy-buddy with Hugo Chavez and all but in the end why do you want to offend anybody, let alone prod at such a sensitive topic to people your team is trying their **** off to appeal to?

I can only believe Ozzie didn't know/understand the situation. To believe that he was aware of the fact that his team plays in a community full of Cuban refugees, many/most of whom are first or second generation folks with family that was killed, tortured, or oppressed by Castro's regime and he STILL said the things he did, you'd have to think the guy either wants to be fired, has a death wish, or despises the organization that employs him.

Being a White Sox fan, I'm well aware of Ozzies penchant for saying literally whatever is on his mind at that given point in time regardless of who it might offend. His biggest 'blunder' in Chicago was referring to Jay Mariotti by a slang term for homosexuals. The national blowback was enormous as the professionally offended folks took issue from New York to California, but in that case Mariotti had been bashing the Sox in his column for years. The actual fans of the team agreed with spirit of what Ozzie was saying if not the wording so it didn't do any real harm to the team.

This almost the exact opposite. There won't be a ton of blowback nationally, mostly because most people don't really know/care much about the situation with Cuban refugees or what they endured under Castro's rule, but the fan base sure as hell does.

This isn't one of those things that goes away with an apology and a trip to sensitivity training. To Cuban refugees, Ozzie's words are unforgivable.

April 10, 2012  09:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

OH REALLY, Try this your comments are founded on what he said and not his abality to Manager A baseball Team, Let it go there is a lot more important this going on in the world.

Get back to me when you

a) Learn what 'freedom of speech' refers to (Hint: It doesn't mean you can say whatever you want to without repercussions), and

b) Learn who Fidel Castro is and why the Cuban refugees that ARE the Florida Marlins fan base absolutely despises him (with very good reason) AND why there absolutely are NOT "a lot more important things going on in this world" to them.

Comment #18 has been removed
Comment #19 has been removed
 
April 10, 2012  09:22 AM ET

Next time you see him ask what that shiny thing is on his finger
oh yes its a WS Ring, and that's all that counts.

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