Minnesota Public Radio News Commentary Today

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It Happened in MIAMI

Today’s news reports three high-profile personnel moves.

  1. Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino was fired for “the decision to mislead the public.”
  2. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn resigned. “Certain issues were brought to the [Best Buy] board’s attention regarding Mr. Dunn’s personal conduct…and an audit committee investigation was initiated.”
  3. Miami Marlins (that’s a baseball team) Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended five games. This is the one that’s interesting.

Why was Ozzie suspended five games?

Well…he said something. And now, he says, “I’m on my knees to apologize.”  He was speaking at a news conference at the Marlin’s new baseball stadium that just opened in the Cuban-American neighborhood of Miami.

So…what did he say? Did he utter a string of profanity? Did he assault an umpire? Did he steal money? Was he having an affair with one of his ball-players? Was he insubordinate to the front office? Well…sort of the latter, maybe, in a round about sort of way.

He said something positive about the man Miami Cuban-Americans love to hate. He had outraged the very people the Miami Marlins owners are hoping will fill the seats of the new stadium.

I love Fidel Castro. [OOPS!] I respect Fidel Castro [OOPS again!!!], you know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but [he] is still here.” – interview with Time magazine.

Ozzie is Venezuelan. Maybe he doesn’t remember that it was Miami Cuban ex-patriots who led the United States into the Bay of Pigs disaster. They tried to kill him. Instead they brought the world to the edge of nuclear holocaust. You don’t get to say that, Ozzie. Your fan base loves to hate Fidel. They hate Fidel more than they love the Miami Marlins, and more than they love the Marlins’ new Spanish-speaking Manager.

Ozzie has a history of sticking his foot in his mouth. That comes with the territory when you hire Ozzie. Now he’s back-tracking, claiming the statement came out wrong because he wasn’t speaking in Spanish. It came out wrong in English. Time magazine stands by its story.

The Associated Press reports this morning that “Guillen said the uproar he created has left him sad, embarrassed and feeling stupid. He said he accepted the team’s punishment. ‘When you’re a sportsman, you shouldn’t be involved in politics,’ he said. ‘I’m going to be a Miami guy for the rest of my life. I want to walk in the street with my head up and feel not this bad, the way I feel now.'”

Bobby Petrino and Brian Dunn have lost their jobs. Ozzie still has his… in Miami.

Given the history of the intended fan base of the Miami Marlins, if I were Ozzie, I think I’d stand by my words and take the first flight home to Venezuela while I still had time before I became the surrogate for the man they love to hate and want to kill in Cuba.