Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen apologized Saturday for saying he "loved" Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro.
Guillen made the comment to Time magazine, adding, "I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother(expletive) is still there."
On Saturday, Guillen spoke to members of the South Florida media, clarifying his remarks and apologizing for any offense they may have caused.
"If [people] are disappointed or upset with what I said, I don’t blame them, but I’m with them," Guillen said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"I lived in Miami for 12 years. I know exactly what [Castro] means to the town … Everybody is upset and kind of sad with what I said. I’m a grown man. I can take it.
"I want to let them know I apologize, but in the meanwhile I was not talking about politics. The reason I say I admire him is because a lot of people want to get rid of this guy and they couldn’t yet.
"That was personal, not politics. If you don’t read the article, it sounds ugly. The first time I read it I was like, ‘Wow, that’s going to get me in trouble.’ I understand that. I’m not hiding from anybody, especially people in Miami."
On Friday, the Marlins issued a statement regarding Guillen’s comments.
"There is nothing to respect about Fidel Castro. He is a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years," the team said.
"We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today."
Guillen, who is Venezuelan, said he was "100 percent" against the way Castro treated people and his country and was aware his comments would have offended a number of people beyond Miami’s Cuban community.
"He not just hurt Cuban people he hurt a lot of people counting Venezuelans," he said.