MIAMI — The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen today for five games because of comments he made about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
The announcement was made at 10:15 this morning, about 25 minutes before Guillen addressed the media from the team's new Marlins Park in Little Havana.
Guillen began his remarks at 10:40 and started by apologizing, in Spanish, to the Latin community.
"I'm here to say I'm sorry," he said.
Audio of the press conference was piped through speakers so that people outside the stadium could listen.
Guillen had previously apologized for the comments made about Castro in Time magazine. The most controversial part of his comments was this statement: "I love Fidel Castro." He later back-pedaled, saying that he admired Castro for being able to stay in power for so long.
The Time article also quoted Guillen as saying: "I respect 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 here."
Guillen said at today's news conference that his comments were misinterpreted by the reporter, and that he doesn't love or admire Castro.
"I was saying I cannot believe somebody who hurt so many people over the years is still alive," Guillen said.
But he took responsibility for the uproar, and said it left him sad and embarrassed. He also said he accepted the team's punishment.
"I'm very sorry about the problem, what happened," he said. "I will do everything in my power to make it better. ... I know it's going to be a very bumpy ride."
The suspension means that Guillen will miss the remainder of the series in Philadelphia on Wednesday and Thursday and the first three-game series at home, Friday, Saturday and Sunday against Houston.
His first scheduled game back in the dugout would be a week from today against the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Park.
In the team's statement this morning, the club said: "The Marlins acknowledge the seriousness of the comments attributed to Guillen. The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.'
Palm Beach Post Staff and Wire Reports