MINNEAPOLIS -- Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales respects Ozzie Guillen's right to an opinion, and doesn't necessarily agree with the Marlins suspending him over the pro-Fidel Castro comments he made.
But, like the vast majority of Cuban-Americans, Morales takes exception to Guillen's rationale, and believes the Marlins' manager would think differently if he had lived through what he did.
"I forgive him because he doesn't know what that's like over there," Morales, who makes his offseason home in South Florida, said in Spanish on Wednesday. "They're probably comments he's heard, or they've told him, but he can't know how it truly is over there. I'm not in agreement with what he said, but he made a mistake. And I'm sure if he would've lived there, he would've said something else."
Guillen has received a whole lot of criticism in Miami, where a large segment of the population is Cuban-American, for comments he made to Time Magazine about Castro, the communist dictator who has been controlling Cuba since 1959. Guillen, who is now serving a five-game suspension handed down by the club, said in the recently published article, "I love Fidel Castro," 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 [expletive] is still here."
On Tuesday, Guillen flew back to Miami to address the issue via a news conference, where he apologized profusely and said he's "very embarrassed and very sad."
That, apparently, is good enough for Morales, who finally defected from Cuba in the summer of 2004 -- in his 12th attempt.
But he's not sure whether the Cuban community in Miami will ever really move on.
"This is a really tough situation for him," Morales said. "He's trying to make up for what he said, and I think they should give him a chance, because we're human beings. He made a mistake and he's owning up to it. But I'm not sure how they'll handle it.
"I'm not sure what drove him to think like that. But I think if he would've would've lived there, maybe three or four years, that mentality would be different."