The manager of the Miami Marlins Baseball team was suspended for five games after making an offensive comment regarding Fidel Castro in an interview with Time Magazine. Ozzie Guillen, a Venezuelan immigrant, commented that he “Loved Fidel Castro,” because of his ability to stay in power despite numerous plots against his life and attempts to remove the now resigned dictator from power in Cuba. Guillen has already apologized to the outraged Cuban-American community in Miami, but the calls for his resignation remain, and many are clearly offended by Guillen’s insensitivity to the Cuban-American community.
Ironically, Jayson Stark wrote for ESPN that Guillen was chosen because of his heritage and his bilingualism, which might have allowed him to connect better with the fan base.
However, Guillen isn’t exactly known for his delicate approach toward sensitive and touchy issues. He previously called a writer for the Chicago-Sun Times a “fag” and then quickly doubled back on his comments. Guillen also doesn’t shy away from suggesting that there is a double standard in how Major League Baseball treats it’s Hispanic-born players versus it’s Asian-born players.
Despite all of the controversy that Guillen might be attracting, the big question that should be asked is whether or not people will care about this comment come the start of the season, and especially if the Marlins do well. Will people remember Guillen’s pre-season praise of Fidel Castro? Or will people care at all if the Marlins bring home win after win? It’s doubtful many will be thinking of Guillen’s comments if that happens, inside or outside the Latino community.
Dustin Mendus is an undergraduate student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He focuses on cultural geography.[Photo by Keith Allison]