Wasn't supposed to return to work until tomorrow but sometimes the "news" chases me so here goes:
The Dolphins have a team store at Sun Life Stadium that sells Dolphins gear, including mugs, jerseys, T-shirts, key chains and other schtuff. Well, earlier this morning through the diligent work of a California Dolphins fan, I became aware the Dolphins team store was selling a New York Jets T-shirt.
The Dolphins store.
Selling a Jets T-shirt.
At the Dolphins store. Inside Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins' home.
It was galling to say the least. More galling was the fact the puke green shirt has the inscription, "Home of the Jets" on it.
I tweeted the fact (follow me on twitter) and broke the story on my radio show (Armando and the Amigo on 640 Sports). And then the poop hit the fan. Within minutes, the story was on ProFootballTalk.com, which called Sun Life "Home of the Jets."
Several callers to my show were so livid they called the Dolphins' store. Interestingly, they were told the team had no such shirts for sale. This after I had called earlier and confirmed they did indeed have these shirts for sale. In fact, I was given the specifics of the sale, in that the shirts were $35 but available at a 50 percent discount.
That made me angry because I wondered if the Dolphins are that myopic as to sell opposing team gear at home. That made me mad because I know that the coverup is often worse than the actual crime. It made me mad because I wondered if the team needs money that badly that selling rival team shirts is in bounds now? It really made me mad because after folks got angry, the people at the store said they were not selling the shirts.
Well, the calls and backlash apparently served a purpose. Mike Dee, the club CEO, e-mailed me to clarify the situation.
"You should know that, at our fan's request, we are about to announce a new policy that we will no longer sell visiting team merchandise at the stadium on gamedays," Dee wrote to me this morning. "This was a product of offseason focus groups that we did and among the topics that we covered was how we work with fans to create a better home field advantage.
"Our fans felt strongly that this policy should be implemented and we are doing it. As part of this arrangement with the operator of the team store, we gave them a limited window to sell everything that they had in stock on a discounted basis prior to the start of the NFL season. With the Mets coming to town this weekend to play the Marlins, they are attempting to move all of their old Jets merchandise this week. We were unaware of this particular shirt which I am told is a number of years old. We have requested that this particular shirt be removed immediately."
Ultimately, all is well that ends well. But, geez, did we really need fan uproar, caused by my twitter feed and radio show, to help the folks at the team store finally see what is right and what is obviously wrong?
In the future, I sincerely hope the folks over there are smarter than that. Better than that.