(MIAMI) — Controversial Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen apologized Tuesday for remarks to Time magazine in which he seemed to praise Cuban leader Fidel Castro, calling his comments “stupid and naive.”
“I love Fidel Castro,” Time reported Guillen as saying in the article. “I respect Fidel Castro, you know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherf****r is still here.”
Guillen attempted to clarify his remarks in the news conference Tuesday, saying he was misquoted because of a language barrier. “What I meant in Spanish, I was talking in Spanish, was that I cannot believe somebody who hurt so many people over the years is still alive,” he said Tuesday.
Guillen apologized throughout the press conference, which was conducted in a mixture of English and Spanish. “I apologize to the people here to everyone who’s looking at me,” he said. “I will do everything to make it better. … I know it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
The Marlins manager, 48, went on to say that he wanted to move forward from the comments, which he called “the biggest mistake of my life.”
“I am willing to do everything in my power, the Marlins power, to help the Cuban community the Latino community, like I always do,” said Guillen, a former Major League shortstop from Venezuela who played for four teams in a 15-year career.
Guillen, who has been suspended for five games without pay by the Marlins for the incident, said he respects the decision, adding that money “is the last thing I’m thinking about right now.”
As for the team, it released a statement today, saying, “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.”
The city of Miami has a large Cuban-American population.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire