After Time Magazine‘s story with Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen leaked, the Marlins new coach knew he was in for a firestorm. The first line of the article has Guillen declaring, “I love Fidel Castro,” in what is described as a “stream-of-consciousness” utterance, but his comments have many in the Miami community crying foul.
America has a complex relationship with Fidel Castro. Past Presidents have tried to assassinate him, exiled countrymen have called him vile and evil, but over the years, he has faded into the background as one of our old boogymen as others like Osama Bin Laden have risen up in his place.
But Guillen’s comments have reignited the controversy around Castro, especially since the Marlins play in a stadium in Little Havana–a neighborhood in which many exiled Cubans live–and the team has made a concerted effort to reach out to the Cuban community and mend the broken relationship they have had over the years.
Guillen was suspended for five games and recently apologized for his fondness for Castro, but should he have been?
While Castro remains a divisive figure, like many people, he isn’t 100% evil. Cubans in Cuba enjoy free education, medical care, and nearly 98% of them are literate, a feat America can’t even match. Moreover, Cuba continues to train medical students from around the world (even Americans) for free and prepare them to serve in their communities. So although Castro is very much a dictator who has killed and jailed many who did not agree with him, he has also created opportunities for others.
But when it comes to sports and politics–should they mix? And when athletes or coaches speak out, should they be penalized like Guillen?
Is this fair?