Some Miami activists protesting planned Jose Fernandez statue
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, along with two others, died last year in a tragic boating accident and the Miami Marlins organization has announced plans to erect a larger-than-life-sized statue near the team’s ballpark.
But the nature of Fernandez’s death — primarily his reported culpability in the accident that caused it — has some activists in Miami crying foul over the decision to pay tribute to the ballplayer.
An investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission indicated Fernandez was operating the boat at the time of the fatal crash. Fernandez allegedly had cocaine in his system and a blood-alcohol limit well over the legal limit at the time of the accident, per toxicology reports.
In light of these findings, a handful of advocates are protesting the plan to honor Fernandez.
Sally Matson, a victim advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), argues the statue sends the wrong message.
“I just think we have to be very careful about hinting and memorializing a person who would’ve been charged with two counts of manslaughter had he survived,” Matson said, via Miami’s NBC-6. “We can’t condone the drinking and drugged driving.”
A father who lost a son to a DUI crash wrote a letter to the Marlins organization that reads in part: “This is why the decisions by your organization to install a larger than life statue of Jose Fernandez are very troubling to many of us.”
Despite the backlash and the calls for the team to reconsider the statue, Marlins president David Samson said the original plan remains in place.
“People make mistakes, mistakes have consequences but it doesn’t change what Jose meant to the Marlins, what he meant to Miami, what he meant to the Comm,” Samson said. “The fact is he will always be a Marlin that doesn’t change. When you love somebody you love them when things are good and when things are bad.”
NBC-6 reports requests for comment from Marlins spokespersons were left unanswered.