Ozzie Guillen, Miami Marlins Manager, Suspended for Castro Gaffe

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: I'm Marco Werman, this is The World. The manager of baseball's Miami Marlins made an unprecedented apology today. The notoriously abrasive Ozzie Guillen may have gone one step too far when he told Time magazine that he "loved Fidel Castro." The result has been a firestorm of criticism for the Marlins manager whose team plays in a new stadium in Miami's Little Havana.

Ozzie Guillen: I apologize to the people's ear outside who was looking at me and I'm very, very, very sorry about the problem, about what happening. And I will do everything to make it better, everything in my power to make it better.

Werman: Guillen went on to say I was thinking in Spanish and said it wrong in English. He said he meant to say he was surprised Fidel Castro stayed in long considering what he's done. The Marlins have now suspended Guillen for five games with immediate effect. Andy Gomez is Assistant Provost of the University of Miami and a Marlins fan himself, a season ticket holder in fact, right, Andy?

Andy Gomez: Absolutely.

Werman: So on a scale of 1-10, how bad is this gaffe from Ozzie Guillen?

Gomez: I would say it's a 6 or a 7 to be very honest with you, but I should say I'm a bigger Boston Red Sox fan. It's about a 6 or a 7, but the issue here, Marco, is one has to realize and I do as an academic, how dangerous ignorance can be.

Werman: And what do you mean by that? Who's ignorant here?

Gomez: Oh, Ozzie, I mean not only has he always had a quick mouth to say what comes to his head, whether it's in Spanish or English, but to come to Miami where Cubans escaped and made it their home after Castro took over in 1959, and to make such an incentive statement is absolutely ludicrous. But he's done it before, he did it with Hugo Chavez, he should stick to what he knows and he knows very little, clearly, about international politics and what's going on around the world. In order to understand the world you have to live in Miami.

Werman: But people are saying you know, Guillen has a right to free speech, why should he be penalized for his comments?

Gomez: If there's one thing that I feel very strong about, particularly having come back from Cuba with the Pope's visit myself, freedom of speech is something that I'm very protective of, but with that freedom of speech also comes responsibility. And that sense of responsibility is to know a little bit about what you're talking about and being aware who might you hurt with some of these comments.

Werman: So apparently talk shows in South Florida have been swamped with calls demanding Guillen be fired. Is a 5-game suspension going to be enough to calm the heat down there?

Gomez: As an academic, as a Cuban American and as a Miami season ticket holder, I take my hat off to the ownership and the management of the Marlins by recognizing the sensitivity of this ludicrous remark and suspending him for five games. I think that's quite sufficient. I don't think it calls for a firing at this time at all.

Werman: Andy Gomez, Assistant Provost at the University of Miami, thank you very much.

Gomez: You're welcome, Marco.