NEW ORLEANS -- From Tiger Woods to Brett Favre, the list of philandering pro athletes is long.
But at least publicly, Dan Marino, perhaps the most beloved sports figure in South Florida history and one-time NFL Man of the Year, always seemed above reproach.
That All-American, good-guy image, we learned this week, wasnt the entire truth.
Marino the Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback is the latest athlete to fall hard from grace, admitting to fathering a child with a former CBS Sports production assistant.
The New York Post broke the story late Wednesday night of Marinos 2004 affair with Donna Savattere, who gave birth to their daughter, Chloe, the following June. Marino has been married to wife Claire since 1985, and the couple has six children.
This is a personal and private matter, Marino said in a statement. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then. We mutually agreed to keep our arrangement private to protect all parties involved.
The Post reported that Marino paid Savattere millions to take care of the child, and presumably keep the story out of the news. That secret was kept for more than seven years before being exposed this week.
Marino, an analyst for CBS, is in New Orleans to broadcast Sundays Super Bowl and apparently will not be disciplined for carrying on an affair with a colleague.
Dan has said all there is to say on this matter and will be in his usual role on our broadcast Super Bowl Sunday, CBS Sports spokeswoman Jen Sabatelle said.
Marino had no public appearances scheduled for Thursday, Sabatelle added.
Back in South Florida, the news surely came as a shock for the legions of Dolphins fans who considered Marino a hero.
Joe Rose, Marinos teammate with the Dolphins and now a sportscaster, was asked about the scandal on his morning radio show.
Hes obviously my friend, Rose said on WQAM. And his family, wife and kids, the whole group, Ive been with forever. He was my roommate, and we go way back.
Im aware of the whole thing. I feel badly for everybody, and its obviously not going to be an easy time. I know whats going on, but theres not much I can say.
Added Channing Crowder, another former Dolphin: Its a man with a squeaky-clean past who ended up not being so squeaky clean. But its his life. Hes dealt with it financially. Hes a good father who supports his daughter emotionally, financially. I dont have a problem with that.
As a player, Marino set more than 40 NFL passing records during his 17-year career that included 10 playoff appearances and one Super Bowl loss to San Francisco. At least nine of his records still stand, including most 400-yard passing games, with 13.
The NFL named Marino its Man of the Year in 1998, and the Dolphins retired Marinos No. 13 jersey in 2000, the season following his retirement. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
He briefly returned to the Dolphins in 2004 as senior vice president of football operations, but resigned three weeks later, saying that the role was not in the best interest of either his family or the Dolphins organization.
This is a personal matter that Dan has addressed, the organization said in a statement Thursday. We support him and his family and will respect their privacy.