When the Chicago White Sox parted ways with the brash and outspoken Ozzie Guillen who became the manager in Miami, many fans were up in arms. There were also many southside supporters who thought losing Ozzie was a blessing in disguise because of his managerial style. People knew wherever he landed, he would draw attention from the media. The problem is much of that attention is negative.
He has made some comments now and in the past that don’t bode very well for his reputation and the respect of the Latin community.
The new look Miami Marlins were looking for a spark. The franchise had suffered from a lack of attendance and popularity since they won the World Series years ago. Management saw Ozzie Guillen as a no-brainer for the job. To their dismay, in Miami it’s all about star power. This created a problem from the start. You never hear about any Marlins’ players, but Guillen’s name is always brought up. The Miami Marlins wanted to have the national spotlight and the support of the local community at the same time.
People need to realize that the new stadium is located in Little Havana so flip-flopping on an issue like Castro will not be tolerated.
Ozzie has never been known to be an apologist. He constantly battled with General Manager Kenny Williams in Chicago. When you have two alpha males trying to run a team, you will always have friction. He even used a homophobic slur against Chicago sportswriter Jay Mariotti, who he had no affections for. He was an easy quote for writers in Chicago.
His press conferences made Bill Parcells look like Bill Belichick.
Now with the recent comments he has made about Fidel Castro, Ozzie has no choice but to crawl out of the hole. This is something that he is not used to doing. Being outspoken is one thing, but having to face the media to basically apologize to a whole city is another.
He said that he loved Fidel Castro because he has kept power for so long. Guillen runs his team much like a dictator. It’s his way or the highway and you’ll be gone if you question his authority. A person can come out and apologize, but actions speak much louder than words. He was even on Hugo Chavez’s radio show after the White Sox won the World Series.
Now he says he is aware of what is happening in Cuba and Venezuela. He must have taken the class “Latin Dictators 101” in the past few days because his comments in the past will be remembered more than his press conference.
This isn’t a story about free speech. It’s about representing your brand in Miami and the culture of the region.
No matter how much Spanish he spoke at the news conference to soften the blow, the wound is there and it will take time to heal.