Archive for September, 2018

Dolphins Stars Appreciate ‘Awesome’ Dolfans NYC Reception

Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Dolphins DB Minkah Fitzpatrick Celebrates a defensive stop.
Photo: Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post

A native of Old Bridge Township, N.J., Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick expected to see around 30 close friends and family members in the lower-level seats at nearby MetLife Stadium.

The standout rookie didn’t envision over 1,000 aqua-and-orange-decked fans cheering for him and his teammates from the upper deck, their raucous reception rendering the return to his home state even more special.

“It was awesome,” Fitzpatrick said. “I saw a lot of people out there. At one point, they were chanting, ‘Go Dolphins!’ That was really cool hearing them, and that somebody at the stadium started that chant. It was a lot of fun.”

Fellow first-year player Jerome Baker, in awe of the inescapable crowd noise, reached out to Renzo Sheppard, Dolphins Football Communications Manager, to find out why Miami had such an overwhelming presence on an opposing team’s home turf.

“Even just pulling in, you could see the tailgating, you could see our fans were there, and I was just surprised by that,” Baker said. “Being that far north and having our fans there, it’s just a blessing. In the NFL, I really didn’t expect our fans to travel that well … I asked Zo, he ended up telling me (about Dolfans NYC), and I just decided to say something.”

“We feed off of their energy just like they feed off of ours,” Baker continued. “When we – the defense – were up there doing our thing, our fans were yelling, too. I wouldn’t say it felt like a home game, but you could definitely feel our fans.”

For two of the Dolphins’ top offensive stars, the ringing celebrations following Miami’s scoring drives didn’t go unrecognized.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” exclaimed wide receiver Albert Wilson when asked if he heard the cheers after his second-quarter touchdown catch gave Miami a 14-0 lead. “After the game, I did a message to everybody who came out. It was great to get so many Dolphins fans on the road. When you get there and you quiet the crowd, and you have your fans going loud, it definitely gives us a spark.”

Running back Kenyan Drake, who found the end zone on a six-yard run in the first quarter, echoed a similar sentiment.

“It was good to score one in front of the many fans we had up there,” he said. “Dolphins fans travel anywhere and everywhere, especially for a divisional-rivalry game such as the Jets. I feel like they make it a key thing to go up there and really try to pack out MetLife Stadium. It was cool just feeling that vibe when I was up there.”

Drake, much like his other teammates, reiterated his appreciation for the support, and hopes to capitalize on the positive momentum as the Dolphins head to Foxboro for a pivotal matchup against the Patriots on Sunday.

What’s his message to Dolfans NYC?

“Let’s keep it going! We’re 3-0, baby. Just enjoy the ride.”

Dolphins Honor SAVE Executive Director, LGBTQ Activist Tony Lima

Monday, September 24th, 2018
SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima (right) poses with Dolphins senior executive Jason Jenkins.

On Sunday, in a pregame ceremony on the Hard Rock Stadium field, the Miami Dolphins named SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.

Surrounded by members of SAVE – South Florida’s leading organization dedicated to protecting people of the LGBTQ community against discrimination – and Dolphins Senior V.P. of Communications and Community Affairs Jason Jenkins, Lima proudly help up a crystal glass trophy and aqua No. 18 jersey bearing his last name on the back.

“As the longest-serving LGBT rights organization in the state, for SAVE, this is a huge honor,” Lima said. “We’ve been working so hard for the last 25 years to bring full equality to Floridians. With the Football Unites program, the Dolphins are not only celebrating and (being) inclusive of the LGBT community, but … are helping other organizations with incredible diversity, work on social justice as a whole.”

With a bigger platform to shine a light on longstanding issues of inequality and discrimination, Lima is hopeful the recognition will allow SAVE to reach an even wider audience.

“What’s most exciting for me, is that the Dolphins did this in front of 70,000 people who may not know that SAVE is out there doing the work that we do,” he said. “They may now have more of an open heart and an open mind to understand why it’s important to be inclusive of the LBGT community.”

During his five-year tenure with the organization, Lima, a Miami-born Cuban American, has focused on community outreach and advocating for policy change. Through the Prejudice Reduction Program, SAVE has spread its core mission of positive change through educational forums and business meetings.

Under Lima’s leadership, SAVE has made its most significant strides toward achieving equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities throughout the organization’s 25-year history. In 2015, Lima championed SAVE in its successful federal suit against the state of Florida to legalize same-sex marriage, and in the year prior, lobbied for nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals at the Miami-Dade County Commission.

SAVE has helped elect a record 75 pro-equality government leaders, as well as implemented a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model aimed to reduce prejudice against the community.

“The model that we came up with is a deep-canvasing model, where in 12- to 15-minute conversations with a voter, it’s been proven scientifically that we can change their hearts and minds,” Lima said. “Just by having inclusive conversations, where people understand that they may have been discriminated (against) at some point, as well, and can see the connection between that and discriminating against the community. The great thing is that model is being used now across the country for not only LGBT rights, but women’s rights and immigrant rights, on a bunch of different levels and issues.”

SAVE is a grant recipient of the Dolphins Football Unites program, created by Owner Stephen Ross and players to help South Florida individuals and organizations maximize their impact and engagement. Through the launch of the program, the team is supporting SAVE’s campaign to reduce prejudice and expand the list of supportive community members.

“In this day and age, in this political climate, it’s not only about one community,” Lima said. “It’s about all the intersections that make up our community, whether that’s being a person of color, being a woman or being an immigrant. We have to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, and help uplift each other’s narratives.”

To learn more and make a donation, visit save.lgbt or connect with SAVE on Facebook.

2018 #MetLifeTakeover Pictures

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

The #MetLifeTakeover was such an amazing success this year. From our pre-party to our tailgate to our fundraising efforts to our impact from the stands to the score of the game everything was pretty much perfect. I didn’t take a ton of photos because I was too busy running around the whole time but I wanted to give you a quick rundown of the weekend and share some of my photos, but the real fun is going to be when you see the video we filmed at the game. It should be pretty incredible.

The first group of photos are from our party on Saturday night at Slattery’s Midtown Pub. We had a great turnout and ended up raising about $1000 for the Miami Dolphins Foundation through our raffles and auctions. We had DJ Tropic spin and Solo D performed, or at least he tried to. The speakers at Slattery’s aren’t exactly ideal for a live performance, but it was still a lot of fun. I love this party we do every year. It gives everyone in from out of town a chance to meet up and check out our bar and our little Dolfans NYC museum we have in the back.

The rest of the photos are from our tailgate which has to have been the best one yet. Last year we ended up partnering with Urban Tailgate at the last minute and things went great but we had some minor issues that all seemed to have worked out this year. It was also the second year in a row that Joe Rose filmed his show “Cup of Joe” live from our tailgate and this year his guests included the legendary Marks Brothers, Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. He also had Kim Bokamper as a guest who has always been super supportive of our group. Nat Moore also came to the tailgate for the 7th or 8th time which is pretty amazing. He was the first person from the Dolphins who ever checked out the club way back when it was at Third and Long and there were only a few dozen of us. Michelle and I also went on the show and donated a $2000 check to the Miami Dolphins Foundation to Jason Jenkins from the Dolphins, another one of our early supporters at the team.

Once again DJ Tropic DJ’d at the tailgate and this time Solo D got some redemption from the bad sound the night before at Slattery’s. He played to a completely pumped group of people at the tailgate and the soundsystem was great. I took photos of his first song and then got myself up on Urban Tailgate’s UHaul so I could get a good group photo and I got to see the end of his set from a above and the crowd was rocking. It was so much fun to watch people just getting crazy hours before kickoff. That energy really carried over because despite the heat our section was loud and going nuts all game long.

Obviously the game was amazing and our crew could easily be heard on TV during the game and our camera guy got his camera into the stands so we should have some really amazing crowd footage for the first time ever. So huge shout out to Curtis and his crew from RizeOptix and our buddy Oscar who hosted the video for us. I can’t wait to see the finished thing and I can’t wait for you to see it, but in the meantime check out this trailer Curtis put together!

Lastly, we did a raffle for the Jason Taylor Foundation and they sent us a signed TJ jersey and we sold raffle tickets for it online, at the party at Slattery’s and all day long at the game, and we raised $1000 for the Foundation and then we as a club matched it. So that’s $2000 for the JT Foundation to go with the $2000 we donated to the Miami Dolphins Foundation. And that doesn’t even include the money we raised from merch and ticket sales. We are gonna be able to do a lot of good with the money we raised.

Now it’s time to check out my photos from both days of the #MetLifeTakeover and we will be back soon with our epic #MetLifeTakeover video!

2018 #MetLifeTakeover

Dolfans NYC Support is ‘Big-Time’ for Dolphins

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

When the Dolphins take the field in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday, players know the inter-division tilt won’t feel like a typical road game.

Not with over 1,000 aqua-and-orange-clad fans spread across four sections at MetLife Stadium, whose boisterous chanting and unwavering celebrations have left a lasting impression.

“It’s big-time,” said Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills. “It’s not too often that you go on the road and you have such a heavy presence in another stadium, so we always appreciate them.’”

For wide receiver and kick returner Jakeem Grant, the warm reception from one of the most significant contingents of Miami fans he’s witnessed at an away game has inspired him and his teammates.

“We feed off them,” Grant said. “They basically give us that momentum, with them cheering if we make a big play. We’re like, ‘Man, we can continue to do this!’ With the fans traveling with us and doing all those things, we greatly appreciate that.”

Throughout the eight previous #MetLifeTakeover games – especially the six triumphs – the loudest cheers have come from Dolphins faithful in attendance, who’ve shouted after every first down and belted out the team fight song following each touchdown.

 

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“I remember in the past, we’ve seen some good support there,” said linebacker Kiko Alonso. “It’s definitely critical to have our fans come to those games.”

Alonso won’t be disappointed on Sunday afternoon, as Dolphins supporters’ voices will echo through the stadium, rooting for him to come up with a game-changing interception and Stills to beat his defender for a crucial score.

The applause emanating from Sections 344 to 347 is not only audible on telecasts, but travels all the way down to the Dolphins sideline.

“We definitely hear it,” Stills said. “It’s nice to have our fans with us on the road … I always make sure to go over there and dap everybody up and tell them face to face, ‘Thank you for being here.’”

Dolphins Aim to Unite Community Through Football

Monday, September 10th, 2018
Dolphins executive Jason Jenkins (center) greets members of NOBLE at Sunday’s Football Unites Tailgate.

Two hours before the Miami Dolphins kicked off the 2018 season on the field, the organization proudly launched the third year of its Football Unites Tailgate – a Stephen Ross-led initiative aimed to fortify relationships between local community leaders, youth and law enforcement – outside the Hard Rock Stadium gates.

Hip-hop music blared through the speakers as a throng of young fans skipped their way past the Joe Robbie Statue, around a decorative white picket fence and inside a reserved section at the North East Plaza. With a backdrop of colorful murals overlooking the festivities, early attendees lined up for lunch at the hot meal stations before spinning the knobs at an oversized Dolphins-themed foosball table.

Each year, the camaraderie, food and entertainment have brought together diverse groups to the pre-game celebrations, which also provide educational components intended to spark conversation and build positive relationships between fans of different races, genders, sexual orientation and identities.

“Our owner, Stephen Ross, created RISE – Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality – and with that, his goal is to use sports to drive social progress and make meaningful change,” said Jason Jenkins, Dolphins Senior V.P. of Communications and Community Affairs. “So, there’s going to be a lot of fun, but there are also educational opportunities designed to bring people together and learn about each other. They’re going to do a scavenger hunt, they’re going to have discussions and they’re going to talk about themselves. We want to bring all these diverse groups together that make up the culture of South Florida, with sports as that backdrop.”

Over a dozen organizations have partnered with the Dolphins, including 5,000 Role Models, North Miami Beach Police Athletic League, Urban League of Broward and NOBLE, whose leaders have recognized the program’s immense impact on their community.

“This initiative is great because it gives the kids an opportunity to come out and mingle with each other, and also meet with officers,” said Timothy Belcher, who serves as President of NOBLE, P.A.L. Coordinator and a mentor with 5,000 Role Models. “We’re trying to bridge the gap between the officers and the youth, to make this a better [community] for everybody. We want to teach our kids responsibility and direction as far as being successful in life.”

The tailgate is one of a handful of initiatives that culminated from a 2016 town hall co-hosted by the Dolphins and R.I.S.E., during which players – lead by Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster and Jelani Jenkins – and local leaders addressed ways to combat issues of racial inequality and community discord.

“We brought in community members, law enforcement, our players and our executive staff,” Jenkins said. “It was really about, what can we do to bring about positive change and maybe serve as an example for others throughout the country? Everyone came in with a positive vibe and an open mind. They listened to each other’s points of view, and asked, ‘What are some actual things that we can do?’”

At the suggestion of law enforcement officials, Dolphins players – most recently, Davon Godchaux and Kenyan Drake – have participated in ride-alongs throughout the community with local officers as a sign of unity.

In addition, the Dolphins have arranged cultural tours and created scholarship programs, while continuing to welcome organizations championing human rights and community justice each gameday.

“It’s really about this theme that football can unite people,” Jenkins said. “We all want the same thing. The police officers, all they want to do is come home to their families. All the community wants is to live in a society where they’re not judged by their race, sex, gender orientation or identity … We want to make South Florida healthier, educated and more united. We feel events like these can help us with that goal.”

Dolphins Commemorate Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Coach Aaron Feis

Monday, September 10th, 2018

On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins posthumously named Aaron Feis – an assistant coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who sacrificed his life to shield students from gunfire at February’s shooting in Parkland, Fla. – as the 2018 George F. Smith High School Coach of the Year.

Greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd, Feis’ wife, Melissa, and daughter, Arielle, accepted the award on the fallen hero’s behalf during a third-quarter ceremony on the Hard Rock Stadium field.

“It’s an honor for all of us, really, for Coach Feis to get the Coach of the Year Award,” said Eagles Head Football Coach Willis May. “If you knew him, you would appreciate that he got that award, because he really was a great man, mentor, friend and dad. For him to get the award was definitely an honor and well deserved. Anybody who knew Coach Feis loved him. We miss him every day and we’re very happy for him, his family and all the MSD family.”

Feis, a one-time Eagles standout center, served as both coach and school security guard at his alma matter for over a decade, taking pride in giving back to his beloved community in every way possible.

On top of instilling knowledge to linemen, warmly welcoming recruiters, and patrolling campus grounds on a daily basis, Feis helped as many as 70 players find collegiate football opportunities by compiling highlight DVDs and YouTube videos for anyone who asked, according to an ESPN.com profile.

In addition to honoring Feis, the Dolphins also named the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team as the Team of the Week and hosted players at the home opener.

“As far as being here today and getting to opportunity to get to be here, it’s amazing,” May said. “Our kids had a blast. To be on the field pregame, I saw mouths dropped. Everybody was just in awe and they were just incredibly touched. What a wonderful day for our kids and our program and we had a blast. We loved it and we can’t thank the Miami Dolphins enough for everything they’ve done for us since February 14. We want to say thank you and how much we appreciate it and what they’ve done for our kids, it’s amazing.”

#MetLifeTakeover Pre-Party & NFL Experience

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

As of this morning the #MetLifeTakeover tickets are all sold out! We are talking to the Jets about trying to get a couple more rows in another section close by but we have already sold over 1000 tickets! Even if you don’t get tickets with us everyone is invited to both the tailgate and the pre-party at our bar Slattery’s Midtown Pub. We also partnered with the NFL Experience to get you guys discount tickets with to their Times Square attraction.

Let’s start with the tailgate! The catered tailgate is being offered by Urban Tailgate up until game day, but our discount code only works until tomorrow night so this is your last chance to get the all you can eat and drink tailgate for $65. You can read more about it over on the #MetLifeTakeover FAQ and you can buy your tickets via Urban Tailgate here. The $20 off coupon is “DOLFANSNYC2018” and if you get the cheaper no alcohol option you can still get $10 off using “FINSUP” as the coupon code. And as always you are more than welcome to enjoy the tailgate party with us for free. Just BYO if you want to eat or drink but come party with us. We have a ton of stuff going on including raffles, merch sales, a live taping of Joe Rose & Nat Moore’s “Cup of Joe” and a performance from Solo D.

Speaking of Solo D he is also going to be performing at our Pre-Party at Slattery’s Midtown Pub. The party is going to start early at 6pm so that we can end by 9pm so people can still get some sleep before the #MetLifeTakeover. Slattery’s is at 8 E. 36th St in Manhattan and is walkable from Penn Station, Times Square and a ton of other Subway stops. On top of the Solo D performance we will have merch for sale, raffles and maybe even a live auction if we get a good crowd. We also just redid our Dolfans NYC museum in the back of Slattery’s so make sure you check that out. A lot of work went into that space.

Lastly I want to mention the NFL Experience promotion we are doing. The NFL Experience Times Square is a “football theme park” that features memorabilia, games, photo ops and much more. This article gives a pretty good run down of what you can expect if you visit. They call it “Disney meets the Hall of Fame meets Dave & Busters”. They reached out to us about doing something with us so we figured the #MetLifeTakeover weekend was a perfect opportunity since a bunch of people will be in town for the game. If you want to check it out we have discount tickets available on Friday and Saturday. It’s not too far away from Slattery’s so if you want to stop by before our event Saturday it should be the perfect pre-game to the pre-party. You can use the coupon code “DOLFANSNYC18” to get tickets for just $25 which normally run you $39. Should be a really fun weekend.

Okay, so that’s it! See a lot of you at Slattery’s on Sunday for the first bit of real football in a long, long time! Phins up!

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