Miami Marlins

David Samson’s $1.2B joke is not very funny to Miami taxpayers. This is his explanation

Marlins president David Samson gives farewell press conference

Miami Marlins president David Samson talks to the media about the sale of the team and bids farewell on Sept. 28, 2017.
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Miami Marlins president David Samson talks to the media about the sale of the team and bids farewell on Sept. 28, 2017.

Former Miami Marlins president David Samson knew he had some explaining to do. The video had already made its rounds on social media.

The one of him shouting an expletive to attendees at Dan Le Batard’s 50th birthday party at Wynwood during the weekend. The one of him flipping off said attendees who booed him when he took the stage.

So when he appeared on Le Batard’s radio show Wednesday, Samson said the expletive he delivered Saturday was a joke and not an intention to disparage Miami.

After being booed on stage Saturday night, Samson said: “Thank you so much; thank you very much. Here’s why I love when you guys boo me. Right. I want you to keep booing me. Because guess what? One-point-two billion. [Expletive] you.”

The Miami New Times on Tuesday was the first to report on the encounter, and both Samson and Le Batard took to Twitter shortly afterward to say it was all an act.

In his appearance with Le Batard on Wednesday, Samson did not apologize for the comments but rather explained them.

”Saturday night was celebrating your birthday,” Samson said. “...So I get on and all of a sudden the boos start. And in the moment, I said guys, ‘This was my job, I had a job to do and I did the job. So f-u and I did my job.’

”Then the cheers started ... We were all in the moment and I was just adjusting to the moment. I am not apologizing for doing my job. I will have fun and will enjoy and be radioactive but one thing I will not take is people questioning whether I have affinity, love and respect for Miami.

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Samson’s comment struck a nerve with some because Samson and owner Jeffrey Loria cajoled the Miami-Dade County and city commissions into approving a stadium that was largely publicly financed. More than 80 percent of the $634 million Marlins Park project was paid for using public money.

The team received an interest-free, $35 million loan from the county that it would pay through annual rent beginning at about $2.3 million and increasing 2 percent each year.

Loria sold the team to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter for $1.2 billion last year.

”There’s one thing lost because of social media and that’s called context,” Samson said. “I am not apologizing for doing my job. Remember, it takes two to tango. I always worked hard to try to win as many games as possible even if payroll wasn’t as high as it should have been. I take the blame for 2012.”

Samson added: “I love Miami. I live there and I worked hard for 16 years, not just baseball but all the stuff in the community and all the things I do when the cameras not rolling. I actually love South Florida.... It’s my home and always will be.”

Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.