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As the 2012 football season winds to a close with Miami-Dade and Broward again showing their dominance on both state and national levels, it's worth considering the case of Wesley Frater. For two decades, the Jamaican-American community activist has organized Florida's only all-star game honoring the top 100 high school football athletes. But for the past three years, the Miami Dolphins have undermined his hard work by hosting their own game. Instead of cooperating with one of the most dedicated men involved with high school athletics, the Phins are competing against him.
That ain't right. Frater's game will be played December 22 at Traz Powell Stadium, and the Dolphins' contest pitting the best high school players from Miami-Dade and Broward is scheduled for mid-January.
"During the first 11 years of our event, the Dolphins organization was one of our biggest sponsors," Frater says. "They donated over $35,000 and allowed us to use their facilities."
Since the beginning, Nike has been the title sponsor of the Tournament of Champions. Other corporations supporting the event include Publix, Doctors Hospital, and WQAM-AM. Even small businesses such as MLK Restaurant in Liberty City chip in.
Frater has been successful because the Tournament of Champions is more than just a game. To participate, student athletes must perform some form of community service and attend a symposium where NFL players describe the perils of being a celebrity athlete.
"We try to teach them that it's not all about buying Lamborghinis and $5,000 bottles at LIV," Frater says. "The reality is that athletes are failing financially at a miserable rate."
Frater tells me that he doesn't know why the Dolphins, along with sports apparel maker Under Armour, decided to rip off his idea.
"We don't believe we compete with Frater's game," says Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene. "The events are a month apart. The proceeds of the game are split 100 percent between Broward and Dade youth football programs."
But South Florida's football community knows that Frater is the guy who started an all-star game when no one else wanted to do it. The Dolphins should honor him.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.