After Carlos Gimenez, the Mayor of Miami, decided he wanted to see his name in print, and simultaneously called on the Miami Marlins to take “decisive steps to bring this community back together” and Ozzie Guillen to resign, the baseball team has suspended their outspoken manager for five games.

The hullabaloo is over the following comments from Guillen:

I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [Getting Blanked] is still here.

Statements like that, no matter how inoffensive the intent might have been, just don’t play out very well in a city where a large chunk of the population either defected from Castro’s Cuba or are a generation removed from family that escaped the Communist regime. It’s easy for me to sit back, and roll my eyes at what seems to be an overreaction from a vocal minority, but the truth of the matter is that it would disingenuous for me to attempt to pretend to understand a very local issue from 2,500 kilometres away.

However, I would like to point out that the current uproar over Guillen’s thoughtless comments are ten times the reaction that the manager received when he spoke with much more malicious intent while referring to a certain columnist with a homosexual slur.

Comments (56)

  1. If its disingenuous for you to pretend to understand, why isnt it disingenuous to make the last comparison?

    • Because they’re both controversial comments.

      Nice try though.

      • Incorrect. You don’t understand. Stop there

      • It’s like wondering why a gay slur would receive more attention than a Castro co,kent in San Francisco. People fucking swim from Cuba to Miami to escape. Get a clue.

        • Nope. You’re trying far too hard to find something controversial. Pathetic, really.

          • I’m with Torontojeff on this one. If you can’t judge/rate/understand the offensiveness of his comment, how can you compare it to others and imply that it’s not as bad as another controversial comment?
            Either you can’t claim to understand how offensive it is to those involved, or you can. If you can’t, then you can’t make the case(albeit implicitly) that it’s not as offensive as a homophobic slur.

        • Pretty much everything about this comment is hilarious. You realize there are gay people in every city, right? Not just San Francisco?

          • there are Cubans in San Francisco too. Not the point. Young Dustin was trying to compare the scale of the reaction

        • So you’re saying that illegal immigrants have a say in the workings of the Miami marlins? Nice!

      • I … I love lamp.

  2. Yup… With this as a precedent (time travel!?) I’m pretty sure Ozzie should have been suspended half a dozen times during his time in Chicago.

  3. Unacceptable: Steroids, making offensive comments about Fidel Castro.
    Acceptable: Drunk driving, homophobia, calling things “retarded”, and (as Bruce Arthur pointed out this morning) throwing banana chips at a black teammate for “fun”.

    Alrighty then, MLB.

    • I’m not sure I will ever understand MLB policy. Great comment.
      I

      • I understand their policy just fine.
        “Make it look like you’re strict only after you get caught and it risks affecting ticket sales”

      • To be fair, the only thing about all those things that MLB has a policy on i steroids. It’s not MLB that decided that banana chip throwing is ok, and Castro isn’t. It’s the general public that does. MLB isn’t taking a stand either way.

        As for Ozzie, whether you agree or disagree with his comment, I think we can all agree on it’s stupidity. In most jobs, if a high ranking employee were to say something that would obviously piss off a large percentage of the companies customers, disciplinary action would surely follow. You’ve got to know you’re customer base Ozzie, you dumb shit.

        It’ll be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to him when he’s back. Considering he’s a first year manager with no goodwill built up yet, this minor-seeming sort of thing could absolutely hasten his exit from his job as manager of the Marlins.

    • You’d be referring to luke scott, right?

    • THIS!!
      10000000 gazzillion times this!

  4. I don’t think anyone is trying to compare stupid comments to determine which one is more stupid. Ignorant comments about anyone are 100% unacceptable no matter who the target. But wondering why the Castro issue would play bigger in Miami is plain naive

    • No one is wondering that. It’s an observation that his comments about Castro are causing a bigger uproar than his use of a homosexual slur. Your reaction to that suggests that you came into the piece with a pre-existing chip on your shoulder over something.

  5. You are not Cuban, you don’t get it.

    And judging from the customer base, the Marlins efforts to specifically cater to the sizable Latin population in Miami, The Marlins would be fools not to do this.

  6. *randy marsh voice* I THOUGHT THIS WAS AMERICA!?!

  7. Ozzie has a long and storied history of shooting his mouth off and making controversial comments. I suspect that part of the reason for this suspension (in addition to appeasing the Cuban-American community in southern Florida with a pound of Ozzie’s flesh) is to set some ground rules for Ozzie from the outset. The White Sox never did that and as a result they lost all control over him. He was often a distraction while in Chicago. From the Marlins’ perspective, they needed to send Ozzie a clear and unequivocal message that him being a distraction will not be tolerated, so that perhaps he will think twice before running his mouth of the next time.

    • If that’s the case, then I can’t understand why the Marlins went out of their way to get him. This is what Ozzie Guillen is known for. He speaks his mind, has no filter, and often says controversial/offensive/stupid things. They could have hired anybody for the job, but they chose to specifically seek out Ozzie and even traded an actual baseball player in order to get him. Their reaction to “Ozzie being Ozzie” makes them look pretty silly, I think.

  8. Heaven forbid a Venezuelan view Cuba in a different light than a community full of angry ex-pats with some pretty hefty axes to grind going back a half-century.

    • This. Let’s not pretend this is about anything other than money. The Marlins lose money if they alienate their fanbase. And Cub ex-pats are largely angry because they lost a shitload of money because of Castro. Shocking that those with a financial state in the whole thing think this a big deal, while most others don’t.

      • of course it’s about money. As it should be. Any company in theworld would be doing damage control after pissing off so many customers.

        That’s not dumb…it’s just good business. You keep your customers happy.

        • I’m not saying it shouldn’t be. Like you said, business is as business does. It’s just frustrating to see it portrayed as “How could anyone ever say anything not entirely unkind about Castro?” rather than “How dare Ozzie alienate a sizeable portion of the fanbase and thus cost the ownership money?”

  9. Yesterday on PTI I heard Kornheiser comparing Castro to Hitler. I know a lot of people who have gone to Cuba and have never heard any comparisons to Nazi Germany. Maybe if Americans could actually travel to Cuba there wouldn’t be such idiotic ignorance.

    • They would be ignorant no matter what. Its what they do.

    • the pretty key difference being all those people who have gone to Cuba have been allowed to leave, unlike all those whiny Cubans who have just had to risk their lives to escape a state that turns its guns on its own people in order to keep them in. Cuba isn’t the Third Reich, but it doesn’t have to be – it’s still a fairly brutal authoritarian state. and you don’t have to be a flaming right-wing anti-communist to find this all highly offensive to the thousands of victims of Castro’s regime – there’s plenty of good left-wing anti-totalitarians like Christopher Hitchens or Bernard Henri-Levy who didn’t let political affiliations stop them from criticizing brutality.

      • I don’t want to defend Castro but I don’t recall him cheer-leading the slaughter of a half million Iraqis.
        Cuba doesn’t have a great human rights record but neither does the United States.
        All I can say is that is not a black and white issue.

  10. I think when looking at the situation purely from a team marketing perspective, it was the move they had to make. Most articles suggest that Guillen was acquired to appeal to the sizable local Latin community, including a very significant Cuban population. His comments on Friday were directly in conflict with why he was brought in in the first place. The issue has little to do with Human Rights and Equality issues, and everything to do with ticket/merchandise sales.

    It is for the same reason that Guillen’s homophobic comments were quickly dismissed – the White Sox clearly were not concerned with missing out on the GLBT fanbase. I am not saying that either reaction is correct or justified, just pointing out why I think each team did what they did.

  11. I love how the national baseball media in America that is railroading Ozzie here is completely silent on the Astros new owner Jim Crane. The guy who at one point told security as his office buildings to not allow women and minorities in order to stop them from submitting job applications?

  12. http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1aznnq76c1qg41ggo1_500.png

    As the above linked image states “Announcing that you are offended is basically telling the rest of the world you can’t control your emotions so everyone else should do it for you.”

    It’s a shame that Guillen’s comments elicited such a response in the market he is in, but at the end of the day, our entire society spends ENTIRELY too much time being offended and hyper-sensitive about other people’s opinions.

    We are talking about the country which spawned, and continues to house, to this day, the Ku Klux Klan. One of the unfortunate side effects of Freedom of Speech and having the freedom to express your thoughts and opinions without fear of reprisal is that you aren’t always going to like the Thoughts and Opinions of your peers.

    You have to take the good with the bad. As much as I can UNDERSTAND the offense incurred by some of the people of Miami, the entire continent needs to get a grip on the reality that the world was not put here to tip-toe around the sensitivities of it’s people. If you do, it becomes a popularity contest about the cause of the day. This is the emotional equivalent of Bubble-Wrapping the world so people don’t get cuts and bruises or other
    bobos.

    The people who are making all this hullabaloo are making victims of themselves when what they SHOULD be doing is putting the past in the past, getting on with their lives, and ignoring ignorant and inflammatory commentary that they may find offensive.

    In no way did Guillen condone or support any alleged crimes committed by Castro. He simply admired his perseverance and his ability to survive through adversity; a quality any athlete or leader of athletes could and SHOULD admire. The people who are offended need to stop their crusades, pull the proverbial dick out of their behinds, stop spinning this into a way which allows them to satisfy their own desire and/or need to play the victim (for what end, I do not know, though all the basics that come to mind are immature and counter-productive), and mind their own damn business.

    If Guillen is known to run off at the mouth and say controversial things, then people who are known to be offended easily should ignore him. You’re only a victim of circumstance if you make yourself a victim of circumstance.

  13. From The Onion: Ozzie Guillen Assures Miami Fans That He Thinks Fidel Castro Is A ‘Total Fag’
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/ozzie-guillen-assures-miami-fans-that-he-thinks-fi,27893/

  14. Everyone interested in this should check @TravisReitsma’s timeline on Twitter. Nailing it.

    • Seconded. Travis is getting right down to it.

      Guillen is a knob, but there’s a lot more going on here than just “Oh LOL he said something dumb and now he’s suspended”. Parkes’ mention of the lack of controversy surrounding Guillen’s homophobic slurs = also nailed it.

  15. I think I need FANGRAPHS to show me themetric how bad each dictator is to properly assign my outrage.

    My ranking is incomplete here:

    Adolf Hitler – got Marg Schott suspended
    Joseph Stalin
    Mao Zedong
    Pol Pot
    Idi Amin
    Kim Jong-il
    Muammar Gaddafi
    Saddam Hussein
    Fidel Castro – got Guillen suspended

    I think Fidel Castro is a C tier dictator in history, but probably higher tier (maybe a B) amongst active dictators.

    There are far worst dictators you can speak positively about. Especially ones ones that are aliied with Western nations – then no one would bat an eye.

  16. Ozzie’s comments were not offensive at all.

    Saying for the Marlins to take disciplinary actio
    Is stupid. They knew the kind of person Ozzie was when they hired him. They were willing to put up with some of his lapses in judgement for his ability to manage a baseball club. Now just put up with the comments and get Ozzie back in the dugout.

    The people who fled Cuba left for political reasons, and Ozzie wasn’t commenting on politics, idealogy, or philosophy until what he said was blown out of proportion.

    As a Venezuelan I am sure Ozzie understand the politics of the region much more than you.

    • I totally agree – Ozzie`s comment was not political at all. It was about respecting a guy who has lived on the edge and cheated death countless times – he could have said the same thing about Evel Knievel.
      The people so outraged over Ozzie`s comments are basically saying they don`t respect free speech and are advocating the assassination of a foreign leader. America: land of the free, home of the brave.

      • The reaction to his comments (i.e. the suspension) has nothing to do with politics or free speech. He was suspended because his comments were bad for business. Period. His loud mouth could cost the Marlins significant $ in the form of a boycott from a fan demographic they are trying hard to court. The suspension did not come from MLB, it came from the team. Therefore, the team is trying to say, “Make all the controversial comments you want . . . just not about our potential fanbase.”

        • Ozzie was suspended because his comments were bad for business and not because the Miami Marlins are against free speech? Yeah, no shit. I sort of realize they are a business and not an authoritarian regime.
          But you’re right – it has nothing to do with free speech.

  17. So they suspended him for using his right of free speech? I don’t see any harm in his comment. I believe he was just trying to say Fidel is tough and resilient which is his opinion and that doesn’t harm anyone.

  18. Ozzie likes to be a controversial figure, but he isn’t smart or clever enough to be one. The best controversialists know how to toe the line perfectly. Ozzie is just not smart enough to pull it off. But it keeps him in the media, which keeps him employed, which keeps him rich

  19. he’s probably thinking he should have used Rasputin instead….

  20. Anyone who understands what courage it takes to stand up to the repressions meted out by the USA understands why Fidel and Hugo Chavez are heroic in our eyes. No leader is free of errors, no leader’s hands are clean, but when you ask who are the champions of the average man, Castro, Che, and Chavez as well as Evo Morales rise to the top in latinoamerica. Study your history from independent sources and you will find it is a complex topic, but if you stand back and see who gains under certain leaders and who loses, you will notice some leaders are more ‘for the people’ than others. It takes time to understand this, it is a topic that needs to be more fairly explored. I applaud Guillen for his courage and grasp of the real issues. It takes courage to tell the truth where there is prejudice and misconception embedded for decades.

  21. This blows my fucking mind. Can a person in professional sports not express their opinion anymore? Kudos to Ozzie for just speaking his mind. Have you heard some of the shit the owner of the Miami Marlins has spouted recently? I find him more offensive by a long shot than anything said here.

  22. My uncle, who helped Castro get into power, was tortured and then executed by Fidel Castro for simply saying Fidel needed to hold up to his promise of free elections and democracy. He left behind a young wife, a one-year old daughter and three-year old son. My mother, who was 12 years older than my uncle and had to take care of him after my grandmother passed away at an early age, spent the rest of her life in deep depression as a result. My best friend’s father was sent to jail for 23 years for speaking up against Castro, completely destroying his mother and family in the process. There are thousands of stories like these in the Miami Cuban-American community. Guillen’s comments opened an incredibly deep wound in the hearts of Cuban-Americans when he said he “loved” Castro. Can that compare to a homophobic statement? Like you implied, don’t go there with a comparison. And let’s be clear, Guillen has a right to make that highly insulting statement to this community, but since we pay for the tickets that will pay for his salary, we also have a right to scream as loud as we want to, and quite honestly, to tell the team we won’t set foot in that stadium as long as he’s the manager.

  23. Free speech is dead. I’m not going to argue from ignorance in regards to the Casto is a tyrant comments, but in itself the Cuban Revolution was a fucking great thing. Yanks get their panties in a knot because their puppet dictator was overthrown, and OHHHHHHH SOCIALISM IS EVIL, give me a break. Cuba has a better health care system then you, chew on that. Ozzie is a coach of a baseball team, not a mayor or another elected official, as long as he isn’t proactively attending KKK meetings or something similar of that nature, leave him the fuck alone.

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