Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been suspended by the team for telling Time Magazine that he “loves” Fidel Castro. Below is Guillen’s quote as it appeared in the online edition of the magazine:
“I love Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years but that motherf**ker is still here.”
Miami’s large Cuban is outraged his comments and the Marlins have quickly gone into damage control.
But here’s a question that no one seems to be asking: Should they really be outraged?
It’s clear to me in reading Guillen’s quote that he’s being hyperbolic. I don’t believe that he supports Castro or his abominable human rights record. He’s simply saying that he admires Castro’s ability to be alive in spite of a plethora of enemies and numerous assassination attempts. He’s admiring his longevity. Nothing more, nothing less.
Anyone who takes anything else away from that quote is desperately overreaching. Guillen is a lot of things, but he certainly doesn’t come off like some who supports dictators. This is a man who’s popular specifically because he’s so outspoken, something he surely knows wouldn’t be possible if he were living under Castro’s reign. Given his history it would make zero sense for Guillen to actually be a fan of Fidel’s.
Now none of this is meant to belittle the plight of Cuban immigrants or those still suffering under his rule. I completely understand and empathize with the detest Cuban immigrants have for Castro. What I’m driving at here is how much of a waste of time it is to get bent out of shape by over-exaggerated comments like these.
And sadly it’ll likely end up neutering one of the few interesting interviewees left in professional sports.