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Ozzie Guillen's Fidel Castro Comments Lead to 5-Game Suspension

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on April 10, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ozzie Guillen is suspended immediately "without pay" for five games, the Miami Marlins announced Tuesday, after the manager's remarks about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro unleashed fury from Cuban American fans.

Guillen, 48, in his first season as the Marlins' manager, apologized for a second time Tuesday for the controversy that he blamed on his own translation issues, Reuters reports.

In an interview with Time magazine's online edition, Guillen was quoted as saying, "I love Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years but that [expletive] is still there."

Minutes after the Miami Marlins announced Ozzie Guillen's suspension, the Venezuela native held a bilingual news conference, repeating apologies in English and Spanish.

Guillen explained his comments were "misinterpreted," USA Today reports: "I meant that I was surprised Fidel Castro stayed in power so long. That's what was missing in the translation. ... I'm not saying the journalist was wrong. I was wrong. I was thinking in Spanish and I said it wrong in English."

Guillen's Castro-loving quote drew intense outrage from Miami's Cuban American community, many of whom wanted Guillen fired for the remarks, the Associated Press reports.

Guillen's suspension isn't likely to raise legal issues, as it's a disciplinary measure that is probably addressed in a written work policy. The Marlins will still technically be paying Guillen's salary during his suspension; the money will be donated to charity, Marlins president David Samson told The Miami Herald.

Ozzie Guillen's suspension over comments about Fidel Castro is raising comparisons to Marge Schott, the late Cincinnati Reds owner. Schott was suspended in the late 1990s after she spoke fondly of Adolf Hitler and used racial slurs against blacks, Jews, and Asians, the AP reports.

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