Sept. 16, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (right) talks with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland (left) during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 35-13. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Did Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford's Political Future Kill Dolphins Bill?

It seems as though the stadium referendum death won’t simply go away and die peacefully.  Perhaps this could be proof that ghosts really do exist.  Failing to move into the light and instead destined to hang around and haunt those that had caused them harm.  It’s no secret that many Miami Dolphins fans are irate over the decision by Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford’s refusal to bring the stadium bill to the floor for vote.  The repercussions have made Weatherford look like an idiot liar and at the same time has made Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and CEO Mike Dee look like two kids who got their ball taken away.

A 10 million dollar ball.

The lead in goes like this.  The Dolphins spend around 10 million dollars to campaign for the referendum to pass locally.  In the Florida State Senate the bill flew through with little to no opposition.  It was a foregone conclusion that the bill would also be passed at the House level.  Weatherford denied the introduction of the bill to the House floor and thus the bill died, along with the 10 million Ross invested into his campaign.  The locals in Miami never go to vote and even some who were against the vote to begin with have complained about the injustice of not having the right.

Complicating the issue is that two individuals who do not work with the Dolphins were present when Weatherford made promises not once but apparently four times to bring the bill to vote.  Something he has denied.  Now, it appears that the denial by Weatherford may have been politically motivated and assisted by one of the Dolphins more fierce deterrers.  Norman Braman.

Braman was the loudest most outspoken person against the bill.  He and Mike Dee continued to publicly call out each other and Dee called Braman a hypocrite after Braman had used public money to upgrade his stadium when he owned the Philadelphia Eagles.  Braman campaigned against the use of public money to help Stephen Ross get the stadium upgrades that he wanted.  Often saying that a billionaire could buy his own improvements.  Now it seems there could be yet another twist to this bizarre situation.

There has been little doubt that Weatherford wants to expand his political agenda to the entire state of Florida.  ProFootballTalk.con has thrown a log onto the still smoldering pit and has suggested that Braman may have promised Weatherford his assistance if the deal died.  The deal died.  According to the Miami Herald, Braman refused to answer the Herald regarding the speculation and that it was “over and done with”.

The question now becomes, or should become, did Braman in fact influence Will Weatherford in an attempt to keep the vote from happening in Miami?  There is no question that Braman wanted the bill dead so it’s not out of the question to think that he could very well have taken his opinion to the top and thus prevented local Miamians the right to even vote on the referendum.  Furthermore if it were discovered that Weatherford did in fact “torpedo” the Dolphins attempt to get local money in an effort to gain a political advantage what does that say about Weatherford?  Is this a man that the state of Florida would want to trust?

The fact that allegations like this are creeping up says this issue isn’t yet ready to go away.  What is for certain is that the Dolphins are making a blind bid for a Super Bowl that will be held in one brand new stadium and one far newer than the one that the Dolphins play in.  It’s also a certainty that barring public assistance, the stadium bill is dead but only dead enough to haunt those parties directly involved.  At least for a little while longer.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Norman Braman Stephen Ross Will Weatherford

  • Ranadicus

    And while the politicians and billionaires play games, the people who needed the jobs the stadium renovation and additional events would have created continue to suffer. Why does Norman Braman even give a damn whether the Dolphins get public funds in the first place? And for that matter what’s wrong with using public funds when you know it is going to create jobs and income for people?

    • Jarod Tulanowski

      Wtf danm politics most are lawyers looking to pad their egos

  • Matthew J Bailey

    I hate politics on sports boards, but this guy made that impossible. I hate him for so callously submarining the Dolphins…but I hate him even MORE for bringing something as repulsive as politics onto the Phinphanatic site.

    I hope voters remember this. I’m fairly certain whomever his next opponent is…they will not neglect to remind them….

  • baud

    Braman has bucks, but so does Ross. If Braman can fund Weatherford for doing the dirty trick, then Ross can fund his opponent. It should be an interesting race as they go for each others throats. They all are republicans so cannibalism is an option.

  • bizzmoneyb

    can somebody tell me when Miami voted Braman as the voice of all South Floridians??! go retire and die you old bastard.

    Weatherford and Braman. two names that should be on every Dolphins fans sh!tlist.


    This is his second fight with the Dolphins. Not sure what Norman Braman’s agenda is against professional sports teams in Miami? He’ll spend tons of his own money on lawyers to fight against stadiums that would create jobs? Read further: In 1982, he led a successful campaign against a city sales tax that would have renovated the Miami Orange Bowl for Dolphins owner Joe Robbie. He recently filed a lawsuit against the Florida Marlins and others over their plans to build a new ballpark. In all seven arguments however, Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen ruled in favor of the Marlins and Miami-Dade County, allowing construction to proceed. Braman however says that he is ready to fight his case as far as the Supreme Court.

  • Just a different look

    Nobody has mentioned that Weatherford is from Wesley Chapel, the Tampa area. While Weatherford was not the Speaker of the House at the time it is interesting that Tampa received funding for the Bucs stadium. However, I really think the NFL itself has earned a lot of the blame. The NFL holds Super Bowls over a community by telling them you will not get a Super Bowl if you do not build or up grade the existing stadium. So I would like to ask the NFL, why Dolphin stadium was good enough to host the Colts and Bears, in NFL terms, a few short years ago. I find it hard to believe that the stadium has depreciated that much that fast.