Marlins’ manager suspended for offending fans

By Tom Sottnick
Staff Writer

After serving a five game suspension, which was given to him on April 12 for comments made about former Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro in Time Magazine, Miami Marlins manger Ozzie Guillen returned to the team Tuesday April 17. Some people are questioning whether the Marlins made the correct decision in suspending him, but the often loud spoken Guillen deserved it.
“I love and respect Castro for staying in power for more than fifty years,” were the words that got Ozzie Guillen in trouble in an interview with Time Magazine. While many argue Guillen’s freedom of speech has been violated he has to be aware that he is representing the organization when ever he speaks to the media. Guillen has to be held accountable for bringing in unwanted attention in from the media to the organization. The team was right to suspend him and to show him that if he embarrasses the franchise they will take action against him.
Guillen should have also took into consideration what the Marlins as an organization are trying to do. After years of poor fan attendance and poor teams the Marlins wanted to start new. They invested heavily in a new ball park, prized free agents such as Heath Bell, Mark Burhle, and Jose Reyes. In addition they also hired Guillen to manage the team after he had been fired by the White Sox. Instead of bringing in positive attention to the organization and trying to renew his winning ways from Chicago he’s brought in a big distraction.
The fan base might ultimately have forced the hand of the Marlins to suspended Guillen. Being that Miami has a large Cuban population, it’s only natural that the majority of Marlins fans are of Cuban descent. After the comments were made, public fans began to protest the team’s games and some fans where calling for the manager’s job. The organization had no choice, especially after it was starting to make progress bringing in fans. They had to appease the fans and suspended Guillen for five games “I think that Ozzie has freedom of speech but he should have been aware of the opinions of the Cuban people in Florida,” said Marlins fan and University of South Florida student Kevin Gillespie.
The Marlins did a good job in handling this situation overall. Even though Ozzie Guillen can be a loud mouth when it comes to the media he’s still a good baseball manager. They were able to satisfy the fan base they are trying to build but also discipline their manager and send a message to him that if he makes inappropriate comments there will be consequences. In the future look for Guillen to think before he speaks as the Marlins countine to try and make progress selling seats and winning games in the 2012 season in the battle for the National League East.