It's been a little more than a week since Hurricane Irma rolled through South Florida, but just now are communities beginning to make a dent in the cleanup. Recovering from the strongest storm to hit South Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 won't be easy, but with everyone pitching in, things seem to be coming together day by day.
The generosity of some of South Florida's sports franchises and schools has been a huge part of the recovery process post-Irma — the keyword being "some."
Here is the tally, as publicly reported to this point:
The Miami Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross quickly pledged $1 million to “immediate and long-term rebuilding efforts” aimed at restoring South Florida's communities. The Dolphins have also teamed with AARP on a community-rebuilding project. The Dolphins will deploy their "Special Teams" volunteer program to assist with much-needed rebuilding projects in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.
The Florida Panthers stepped up in a big way, pledging $1 million of the $2.7 million donated by themselves, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the NHL and its players. The Panthers also teamed with Jet Blue to hold two full days of food truck rallies outside the BB&T Center in Sunrise, where South Floridians were treated to free meals, no strings attached.
The Miami Heat, in coordination with the Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, pledged a whopping $10 million to Hurricane Irma relief efforts across Florida and the Caribbean. Of that donation, $2.5 million will come directly from the Arison family and will go toward relief efforts directed by Direct Relief, UNICEF, and the United Way of Miami-Dade County.
Hell, even Florida Atlantic University donated $1 from each ticket sold at sporting events this past weekend. Everyone seems to be pitching in to get South Florida back on its feet.
Well, everyone except the Miami Marlins, it seems. There has been no announcement by the team as far as donations go. If there have been any, those figures have not been made public. As far as Hurricane Irma relief efforts go, the only thing the Fish seem to have announced is that Monroe County first responders can pick up two free tickets to any of the remaining home games.
The Marlins did hold a charity drive for victims of Hurricane Harvey, the storm that affected Houston in August. There, the team collected items that fans brought and reportedly helped the Red Cross raise money. But again, no money from the Marlins' personal stash went to those in need.
So is this another case of Jeffrey Loria being the greediest man in South Florida? Or have the Marlins donated behind the scenes? Outside of allowing players' families to travel with the team and letting first responders sit in seats that would have sat empty anyway, what have the Marlins done to help the South Florida community recover?
Miami has endured Loria and the Marlins throughout his decade-plus of team ownership. Not stepping up big-time to support the community in its time of need is a bad look. Loria is set to become a billionaire in large part thanks to the boondoggle of a stadium the city gifted him. He has time and time again profited off the backs of others in this area, but when a natural disaster strikes, all he can do is give out a few free tickets to fans who will inevitably stuff thousands of dollars back into his pocket while in attendance?
Do better, Loria. Step up. If you already have, let it be known. If you haven't already, make it happen. You owe South Florida. Now is the time to make good.
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