5 PR Recommendations for Ozzie Guillén
Ozzie Guillen in 2008 - via Wikipedia by Keith Allison
Earlier this week Ozzie Guillén, manager for the Miami Marlins major league baseball (MLB) team, was suspended five games for remarks he made in the most recent issue of TIME Magazine stating he loved and respected the Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro.
I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I am a fan of words – and words matter, as this situation clearly shows.
These types of verbal missteps happen frequently to public figures, but rarely on the scale as Guillén’s case.
As background, the Spanish-speaking Guillén was recently hired by the Marlins after he was fired by the Chicago White Sox. He has a long history of “colorful” comments and conduct in the MLB, but nothing that comes close to this latest mishap in Miami which has the single largest population of Cuban exiles in the world.
A significant number of those refugees and exiles took offense to what Guillén said and are calling for his ouster as are several elected officials in that city who are outraged over Guillén’s supposed pro-Castro sympathies.
This past Tuesday, Guillén held a news conference where he genuinely and sincerely apologized for this insensitive remarks and the Marlins' ownership announced his suspension.
Despite his contrition, Guillén may still lose his four year $10 million contract with the Marlins.
If he survives, it’ll be a miracle.
While I’m not a miracle worker, I am a professional communicator with more than 23+ years experience as a former journalist and current public relations (PR) practitioner.
Here are some PR tips Guillén should consider, to mend fences with the Miami-Cuban community and save his job:
1. Don’t Offer Opinions – Guillén brought this on himself by publicly expressing his opinions about an international relation issue with which he had zero expertise or credibility. Stick to talking about baseball. While we all have free speech, there are consequences of our words.Continued on the next page