Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has found an unlikely defender in Norman Braman. Yes, the billionaire auto magnate and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles may have been the face of opposition to publicly financing Marlins Park, but at the end of the day, he is a businessman, and he can't help but admire Loria's business savvy.
"I honestly believe Jeffrey Loria is getting bad rap," Braman told ESPN. "Jeff was no different than any of the other sports owners, and I can name them on my left hand, right hand, toes on my foot, who have gone out and suckered the public in getting public tax dollars to construct something and build something that they should do themselves."
Braman also points out that you can't totally blame Loria for taking advantage of a good business deal that was offered to him by the county government at the time.
As a former professional sports team owner himself, Braman can't help but emphasize a little with Loria's decision to slash payroll. ESPN points out that when Braman owned the Eagles, he let Reggie White go. White ended up with the Packers and helped the team win two Super Bowls.
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"If he kept the same people, everyone would say, 'My God, the season is starting the same way; they're losing all these games,'" Braman said. "Who knows in retrospect. If these young players turn out to be excellent players, does that make Jeffrey Loria a hero instead of a bum? Only time will tell."
At the end of the day, you can't count on one superrich dude to totally throw another superrich guy under the bus, but this is quite a turnaround for Braman. Last month he dismissed Loria as a "jock-sniffer."