Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen landed in some hot water this week after the release of a Time magazine article in which he gave an interesting take on Fidel Castro.
In the article, Guillen is quoted at the very beginning as saying “I love Fidel Castro…” From there, he goes on to elaborate and explain that he admires the way that, despite the fact that a lot of people have tried to kill him, Castro always found a way to stay alive.
"I respect Fidel Castro," Guillen said. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here."
As you would expect, a lot of people didn’t take kindly to Guillen’s remarks. And seeing as they’re basically akin to someone saying “I love Adolf Hitler…he had fantastic facial hair,” you can’t really fault folks for getting offended.
On Saturday, Guillen took the first available opportunity to apologize for what he said.
"Whoever got hurt or misunderstood, I want to apologize for the things that hurt somebody's feelings," Guillen said (via MLB.com). "I want them to know, I'm against everything the way he's treated people the last 60 years. I've read a lot about him.
"I shouldn't be talking about that, especially in the town I'm in right now. I regret that."
And once again, Guillen made sure to reiterate what specifically he meant.
"The reason I said I admired him is a lot of people want to get rid of him, and they couldn't," Guillen said. "That was a personal [thought], not politics. If you don't read the article, it sounds ugly. The first time I read it, I was like, 'Wow! That's going to get me in trouble.' I'm not hiding from anybody, especially the people of Miami.
"From the bottom of my heart, if they're disappointed or kind of upset at what I said, I don't blame them. I'm with [the people of Miami]. I've lived in Miami for 12 years. I know exactly what this man means to the town."
The Marlins, for their part, immediately tried to distance themselves from their manager’s ridiculous remarks.
"We are aware of the article," the team said in a statement on Friday (via MLB.com). "There is nothing to respect about Fidel Casto. 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."
So, for those keeping track: one week in, we already have our first Ozzie gaffe and apology. This is going to be a great season.