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Marlins President David Samson Says Remarks On Miamians, Politicians Were Mischaracterized

Marlins President David Samson Says Remarks On Miamians, Politicians Were Mischaracterized

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Samson asserted he was misquoted, was not insulting Miami residents' intelligence
Marlins President David Samson yesterday said that the comments he made Tuesday during a speech at a meeting for non-profit agency Beacon Council "were a mischaracterization," according to Jose Frisaro of MLB.com. Samson was quoted as saying Miami residents are "not the smartest people." However, Samson said that he "wasn't insulting the intelligence of Miami residents." Samson: "We were talking about charity, and we are the top one percent, fortunate people. We are the fortunate one percent and we have to give back. I was talking about my run. It's a complete misquote" (MLB.com, 3/7). MIAMI TODAY's Scott Black notes Samson had some "colorful and critical words for elected officials, pundits and even Miamians as a whole" during his speech.  Samson said, "I don't have to hold back now that the stadium is built -- not that I ever have." He called politicians "not the intellectual cream of the crop." He also said about the entire population, "We're not the smartest people in Miami. If you're in this room, you're instantly in the top 1%." Samson had "a few words about state officials." He said, "I went to Tallahassee. I don't know what they do up there. There are so many special interests. You walk through the building, and they're watching 'Family Feud.' You see people running around, working on legislation. All I know is that gavel goes down and nothing gets done." During his speech, Samson "blasted" former Eagles Owner Norman Braman, now a Miami auto dealer and activist "who filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Marlins' stadium deal." Samson said, "I don't see Norman Braman trying to fix anything. If he has the time and money, let's see (him) run" for public office. He added Braman "should stop saying how bad it is, and start trying to make a difference" (MIAMI TODAY, 3/8 issue).

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? In Miami, Beasley, Spencer & Rabin note as public backlash grew yesterday, both Samson and Beacon Council President Frank Nero "categorically denied he had made such an insult, with Samson asserting he was 'misquoted, misrepresented, mis-everything.'" Samson said, “It’s just the way the Internet goes. If you saw the tape, or you were there like everyone else, you’d be embarrassed for that (reporter). You’d probably lose your job actually." Miami Today publisher Michael Lewis, a "longtime critic of the team’s $634 million stadium deal, stood behind the paper’s reporting." Former Beacon Council Chair Jack Lowell, who was at Tuesday's meeting, said that he "heard the same." Lowell: “It was David was being David. He said voters in Miami are not the smartest people in the world." Before the Marlins' Spring Training game against Florida Int'l Univ. yesterday, Samson "clarified his remarks, particularly those about elected officials." He said that he was "merely lamenting the fact that from the moment politicians are elected, they have to start campaigning and fundraising for their reelection." Beasley, Spencer & Rabin note it is "hard to pinpoint with certainty" exactly what was said. Miami Today "did not make a recording of the event, and the Beacon Council declined to make their internal videotape available." WSVN-Fox was present at the meeting and while it "did not record the entire hour-long presentation, it did capture Samson mocking low voter turnout locally." Samson: "Nothing bothers me more than a community that cries about all the ills in the community itself and then doesn't vote. Either they're too lazy or they're watching ‘Oprah’ or whatever they're doing.” For the Marlins, the "kerfuffle comes at precisely the wrong time -- less than a month from opening day" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/8). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote, "It really is a shame that Marlins and baseball fans are stuck with this guy." Kaduk: "No matter how talented or colorful Ozzie Guillen's squad turns out to be, it'll be tough to root for them and get behind the Marlins. And it's all because the two men behind the franchise couldn't look any more gleeful after what they got away with in this stadium deal" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/7).