“I love Fidel Castro.” That’s the line attributed to Ozzie Guillen in the sample TIME Magazine’s profile of the new Miami Marlins’ manager. That’s probably not the best thing to say in Miami, a city with a large Cuban population. Yet he did. From the Orlando Sentinel:
“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 [expletive] is still there.”
Guillen, who is no stranger to saying surprising or controversial things, realized this as soon as he saw the article. That’s why Guillen started apologizing before anyone even had a chance to call him out. From the CBS Tampa:
“I will apologize if I hurt somebody’s feelings, or I hurt somebody’s thought,” Guillen told the writers. “I want them to know I’m against everything 100 percent — I repeat it again — the way this man (been) treating people for the last 60 years.
“The reason I say I admire him is because a lot of people want to get rid of this guy and they couldn’t yet,” Guillen told the Sun-Sentinel. “That was personal, 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 understand that. I’m not hiding from anybody, especially people in Miami.”
Ozzie is truly one of a kind. While he may not be getting any less controversial, at least he now knows how to get out ahead of the controversy. In another season or two, he’ll be working the apologies and retractions into the initial statements.
[TIME, Miami Herald]