Miami Marlins Manager Praises Castro, Gets Suspended

If you’re going to be the manager of a sports team in Miami, one of the things you don’t do is praise Fidel Castro:

The Miami Marlins announced Tuesday morning that manager Ozzie Guillen has been suspended for five games due to his positive comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Guillen told Time magazine that he loves Castro and respects him for staying in power for such a long period of time. The comment set off a firestorm in Miami and prompted the Marlins to immediately issue a statement denouncing Castro.

Guillen has since apologized via a group of reporters in the locker room.

“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 percent — I repeat it again — the way this man [been] treating people for the last 60 years.”

This isn’t the first time that Gullien has stuck his foot in his mouth. Indeed, he became rather famous for it while managing the White Sox, but this certainly ranks as one of the dumber things he’s ever said.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Sports
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Jim says:

    What a dingbat.

  2. James Joyner says:

    It’s hardly shocking that an uneducated jock has some dumb opinions on world affairs. And, frankly, his statement on Castro wasn’t particularly outrageous. But, yeesh, not good with that fan base.

  3. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Rule No. 1: Do not piss off the paying customers.

  4. Hey Norm says:

    Suprised he’s still alive.

  5. Franklin says:

    @Hey Norm: Guillen or Castro?

  6. Considering that the new Marlin’s ballpark is in Little Havana, and that the team has spent the off season consciously marketing the team to the Latino, especially Cuban, population down there, one would think even Guillen would be smart enough not to say something guaranteed to annoy a substantial part of the team’s fan base.

  7. wr says:

    So here we are in libertarian paradise, and no one seems concerned that to a certain set of Republicans if you hold the wrong political views you are suspended without pay? I realize it’s not a first amendment issue, since it’s not the government abridging free speech. But you now apparently all believe that employees must never be allowed to express political beliefs that run counter to their employers or deserve what they get?

    Is that how a libertarian views speech issues? If he’d been suspended for criticizing Obama or coming out in favor of “Obamacare” would your opinion be the same?

  8. mantis says:

    @wr:

    So here we are in libertarian paradise, and no one seems concerned that to a certain set of Republicans if you hold the wrong political views you are suspended without pay? I realize it’s not a first amendment issue, since it’s not the government abridging free speech. But you now apparently all believe that employees must never be allowed to express political beliefs that run counter to their employers or deserve what they get?

    This is all pretty silly, wr. As has been already noted above, this is about the fans. Baseball is a business, and the fans are the customers. If you go out and publicly say something that pisses off many of your customers, you will get in trouble with management. It’s rule number 1 for talking publicly while representing a business. Don’t say anything that would harm the business.

    You seem to believe Guillen is being punished for expressing views counter to those of his employers. You have it wrong. Those views are counter to those of the Marlins’ customers. It’s not a libertarian issue, or a political issue at all, really. It’s business.

    If Eric Wedge of the Mariners had expressed his admiration for Castro, I doubt he would have been punished by the team’s owners. That’s because people in Seattle don’t really care about Castro. People in Miami do. They’re the ones who buy tickets.

  9. @wr:

    I pretty much endorse Mantis’s take on your comments. I’ll just add one thing.

    Guillen has every right to express his opinion about Fidel Castro or anything else. He doesn’t have the right to be the manager of the Miami Marlins, and if his employer want to discipline him for making comments that are deeply offensive to a large part of their customer base then that is their right.

  10. lankyloo says:

    As a White Sox fan, I really miss Ozzie. He was always saying things like this. He was almost always as entertaining as the team.

  11. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: But of course, this is the libertarian definition of free speech — rich people are completely free to say what they think, everyone else can be punished for their thoughts. Owners should have complete control over their employees’ speech and thought, and if the employee doesn’t agree, he’s perfectly free to be unemployed.

    In a libertarian paradise, everything is free. As long as you’re rich.

  12. mantis says:

    But of course, this is the libertarian definition of free speech — rich people are completely free to say what they think, everyone else can be punished for their thoughts.

    What are you talking about? Are you punished for your thoughts? I’m not rich, and I have yet to receive punishment for unacceptable thoughts (and trust me, I’ve had some).

    Owners should have complete control over their employees’ speech and thought, and if the employee doesn’t agree, he’s perfectly free to be unemployed.

    No, owners have control over their businesses and whom they employ. They can choose not to employ, or as in this case, to punish, an employee who publicly expresses opinions that anger many of their customers. It is not some hare-brained libertarian fantasy to believe private companies have the right to take action against an employee who harms the business. It’s basic common sense.

    Quit being such a nincompoop. The ability to fire employees is not “complete control over their employees’ speech and thought.” That’s just utter nonsense.

    Oh, and by the way, regarding your “rich people are completely free to say what they think” comment, I’m pretty sure after 15 years as a player and 12 as a coach or manager in the majors Ozzie is pretty well off.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    I bet many of the same folks on NRO and other conservative sites who are complaining that John Derbyshire got a raw deal and was actually correct with the racist bull$hit he wrote are upset with Ozzie Guillen for saying nice things about Fidel Castro and perhaps approve of his punishment, if not wanting him to be punished more…oh the irony…

  14. Trumwill says:

    @wr: What were your thoughts when Hank Williams Jr was sacked from Monday Night Football?

  15. wr says:

    @Trumwill: “What were your thoughts when Hank Williams Jr was sacked from Monday Night Football? ”

    Complete indifference to the entire affair.

    Doug, on the other hand, is the one who keeps crying that it’s so totally unfair that liberals tried a boycott of Rush Limbaugh because of his loathesome rhetoric about a private citizen who dared speak before congress. It was an outrageous attack on his freedom that anyone should say he shouldn’t have a giant microphone to spew hate. But Doug’s okay with this.

  16. @wr:

    I made my points about the Media Matters orchestrated boycott campaign clear in the post that I wrote, I really have nothing more to say about it.

  17. @wr:

    Read the 1st Amendment my friend, it applies to government efforts to suppress speech, not to those evil rich people you are so paranoid about