The Miami Dolphins are receiving plaudits from one of their city’s most outspoken residents for their latest good deed.
A local high school football team, already reeling after one of its players was killed by a drunk driver, then lost thousands of dollars in equipment in a fire, and the Dolphins stepped up to replace the material things it had lost.
‘I received a phone call...’
In his most recent column for the Miami New Times, rapper-turned-activist Luther Campbell wrote about Miami Edison Senior High School and how the Dolphins under owner Stephen Ross have been standouts in the community, particularly when compared to previous franchise owners in the region.
“The June 23 fire that destroyed a storage shed in the Miami Edison Senior High field house could have been a devastating blow to the Red Raiders' upcoming football season,” Campbell wrote. “At the time, players and coaches, including myself, were still dealing with the tragic death of 17-year-old kicker Richecarde Dumay, one of three teens killed by a drunk, habitually reckless driver in late May.”
(Dumay and two other teenage boys were at a bus stop on their way to a soccer tournament when they were struck and killed by a 31-year-old woman driving with a suspended license. She has been charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter.)
“Though the fire was contained to a small space and no one was hurt, Edison lost several thousand dollars' worth of tackling dummies, benches, field markers, and other equipment necessary for practice, which typically begins later this month.
“That afternoon, as I stepped off a plane in Atlanta, I received a phone call that the Miami Dolphins wanted to help. The next day, Tom Garfinkel - the Dolphins' vice chairman, president, and chief executive officer - announced that the organization and Baptist Health South Florida would replace all of the equipment damaged or destroyed by the fire. Ann Hake, the team's youth program and camps senior manager, came by the high school to take an inventory of everything that needed to be replaced.”
‘It’s not the first time’
Campbell continued that “it’s not the first time” the Dolphins and Ross “have answered the call to make Miami-Dade County a better place.”
He cited Ross’ renovation of Hard Rock Stadium, which he did using an NFL loan as well as some of his own money, transforming it from “a dump,” as Campbell wrote, into an improved event venue. And while the county does pay Ross and the team a subsidy for moving training camp to Miami Gardens, Ross isn’t just taking the money: the stadium improvements mean the Super Bowl is headed back to South Florida, there are international soccer matches, and Hard Rock now hosts the Miami Open tennis tournament, revitalizing the event.
Ross certainly stands in stark contrast to Jeffrey Loria, Campbell wrote.
“Meanwhile, Jeffrey Loria, the previous owner of the Miami Marlins, sold the team for $1.2 billion and didn't give anything back to Miami-Dade for building Marlins Park for him. Current Marlins owner Derek Jeter traded away all of the team's best players and is running a minor-league operation. Then there's international soccer star David Beckham and his business partners, who got a free stadium in Fort Lauderdale and want free land in Miami for another stadium. They are whoring themselves to every lobbyist in the city to get the golf course at Melreese Country Club.”
Campbell said that Ross, unlike other NFL owners, allows local vendors that don’t have stadium contracts to operate outside of Hard Rock during events, and the residents he sees that work on game day are “happy and proud” to work for the team.
Because of their recent track record, Campbell said, it wasn’t a surprise to see Ross and the Dolphins step up to help the players at Miami Edison.
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