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Dolphins' stadium fight turns nasty

By Larry Hartstein |

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, here greeting fans, is in a war of words with former Eagles owner Norman Braman. (USATSI)

The Dolphins have played a lot of boring football since 2008 without producing a winner. But they sure know how to stage a compelling stadium fight.

While other teams quibble with local governments over technical terms like “first-tier” status, the Dolphins' bid to upgrade Sun Life Stadium has turned extremely personal.

Former Eagles owner Norman Braman called Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' request for public funds “welfare for billionaires” and referred to Dolphins CEO Mike Dee as an “expletive.”

Not to be outdone, Ross said Braman is “full of [expletive].”

The Miami Herald is tracking all the attacks and counter-attacks as a deadline looms for the team to win taxpayer help for the nearly $400 million renovation project.

Dee referred to Braman as “a bitter man,” an “irrelevant” hypocrite who took public money to fund his car dealerships. Braman countered by accusing the Dolphins of “paying for union thugs to picket his downtown Miami car dealership and try to do the same at his home in Indian Creek community.”

Facing substantial opposition from local government, the Dolphins have made a series of concessions lately in their effort to get the hotel tax raised from 6 to 7 percent and secure up to $90 million in sales tax rebates. According to the Herald, the franchise has agreed to keep the team in South Florida for three decades, land at least one Super Bowl by 2017 and pay back $167 million by 2043.

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