If you're a fan of South Florida's teams, Stephen Ross doesn't think you're a good sports fan. The Miami Dolphins' owner made that sentiment clear earlier this week when he said as much during an impromptu interview with the New York Daily News . Ross made sure to hedge his hot take by pointing out that Miami is a "great city," just not so hot when it comes to sports fandom.
Guess what, Ross: Nobody cares! Miami isn't sorry for being what it is: a town that supports its teams at the box office when they deserve to be supported. Miami fans' cash is earned, not given. That fact won't change anytime soon. So deal with it or leave — your choice.
It's high time to confront this stigma about local fans coming around only when the winning is good: Yeah, Miami doesn't blindly support its sports teams. So what? Are you new here?
Miami does everything differently — some things better, some things worse, but always different. If you're looking to compare what goes on in Miami to what happens in St. Louis or Milwaukee, you've obviously lost your way.
But this critique of Miami sports fans is especially rich coming from Ross, who hasn't had a clue about how to build a successful sports team since he strolled into town nine years ago. He has run through three rebuilds with seven combinations of front-office people running the show. His first move in South Florida was to roll out an "orange carpet," get T-Pain to remix the team's fight song, and sell a minority share to Fergie, even as everyone made it clear all you need to draw fans and a buzz in Miami is a winner.
Local fans will show up for a game at a crumbling stadium like the late-era Orange Bowl and stand in other people's piss if the team on the field is winning, but if your club is losing, expect a half-full stadium. Them's the breaks. Welcome to Miami, Ross.
Honestly, what are we even talking about here? How seriously do you have to take sports to continually puff up your chest and proclaim: Yes! I am the one who volunteers to spend money on a perpetually crappy product! It is I, best sports fan, who prioritizes sports over other important things in life that are so much more important! Recognize that my town has so few other things to offer that everyone here needs to be in the stadium in person to watch a terrible product!
Take a step back and think about how all of that sounds. Other cities are weird, not Miami. Their priorities are backward, not Miami's. South Floridians put just the right amount of time and effort into our sports teams. The Marlins still hold the record for attendance in a World Series. No one touches the atmosphere in American Airlines Arena during a Heat playoff run, and the Heat has been in the top ten of attendance for the past 15 years. Longtime Dolphins fans will tell you what it was like during Marino's prime. And yet again this past season, we saw how Hurricanes football fans react to a decent team.
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Miamians don't pay up just for an event; they pay up for a great product. But don't expect South Florida sports fans to repeatedly waste their time and money on an inferior squad and a lousy game-day experience. It ain't happening. Sorry, not sorry.
If Cleveland Browns fans want a participation trophy for watching their team go 0-16 in the dead of winter, crown their asses. They're number one. We suck. You're cool. You're the big winner.
Miamians make their teams earn their fans' time and money because people in South Florida have many options on which to spend those two things but limited stock in both. That doesn't just mean dining at Prime 112 or popping bottles at LIV; that means spending time with family at home because Miamians work hard to live where most people vacation.
If you don't like it, know that Miami fans don't care if you like it. If you think it's an excuse, file it in your excuse box. The fact that critics continually challenge Miami as a sports town is more of a reflection of their priorities than a problem with ours.