Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jan. 11: Dolphins Fumble With Stadium Plan

By Sylvia Gurinsky

So far, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross hasn't even been good enough to make the cut at training camp.

Ross messed up the coaching situation last week, leaving Head Coach Tony Sparano dangling on a string while he went around the country trying to find a better alternative. To his credit, Ross has apologized.

But he's also goofed on an old story - efforts to get public money to spruce up what's officially called Land Shark Stadium, but what I still call Joe Robbie Stadium. (Speaking of Robbie, when is Miami-Dade County going to give him a fitting and permanent public honor?)

Even though former Dolphins' owner H. Wayne Huizenga refurbished the stadium several years ago, that's not good enough for the National Football League. The NFL has told Ross that future Super Bowls won't be coming to South Florida unless there is still more work done on the facility. (Wonder if they'll change their minds if the 2014 Super Bowl, scheduled for the Meadowlands in New Jersey, is hit by the same kind of blizzards that tied up the Northeast during Christmas.)

South Floridians are weary of the new sports edifices and public payment for renovations of the old ones during the last two decades. They're even more weary of rich sports owners continuing to ask for the public to support the construction and fixes.

They reached the height of their anger after the approval of the financing plan for the Florida Marlins' ballpark - especially after it was revealed that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was not forthcoming about how much money the team made.

St. Rep. Erik Fresen of South Miami plans to file a bill with the Florida Legislature that would attach funding for stadium upgrades to convention center funding. Convention center upgrades are certainly needed, and public money should be used for them.

But Stephen Ross should pay for any stadium upgrades himself.

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