Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, minutes after his five-game suspension was handed down, faced the media and the music in the wake of his comments about Fidel Castro.
Guillen began the press conference speaking in Spanish, clearly aware of the audience most critical of his comments. His eyes were red, and on occasion watery. He choked up while speaking. He looks like a man who hasn’t slept well.
The following summary of his comments come courtesy of Bob Nightengale of USA Today who translated Guillen’s comments and tweeted them:
He said he was sorry he hurt the city and the community. He said it was not intentional but that he did it and that he would like to apologize. He said he felt like he “betrayed the Latin community” and that he was there to say he was sorry with his “heart in his hands.” he says he is embarrassed and that the past few days have been hard on him and his family. He said he’s “I’m here on my knees apologizing to all communities.”
When asked if he really loves Fidel Castro, he said that his answer was misinterpreted when he spoke to Time magazine. He says he meant to say that he was surprised that Castro stayed in power so long, not that he loved or respected him for it.
When asked if his suspension was fair, he said “I can’t control that,” and that he respects the situation and can’t complain about it because he’s not in any position to complain. He said that he was sad he couldn’t be with the team right now, because the team is playing well.
When asked if he could repair relations with the Cuban community in Miami, he said “I am willing to do everything in my power to help the community,” and that he planned on being in Miami for a long time. He later added that this was not a one-moment-in-time kind of apology. He would not forget it, and that he would show through his actions that he is sincerely sorry.
He later said “I let the ballclub down.” He said he was hired to manage, not talk about politics. He will address his team in Philadelphia tomorrow prior to his suspension kicking in.
*Screen capture of Guillen from WSVN, Channel 7, Miami’s live stream of the press conference.