Marlins: Ali family isn't unhappy about premature tribute
MIAMI (AP) Miami Marlins president David Samson says the family of Muhammad Ali isn't unhappy about the team's premature tribute to the late heavyweight champion.
''I reached out to someone very close to the family,'' Samson said Saturday. ''Everything is fine. This came from the heart.''
The Marlins displayed a photo of Ali on their video board Friday night indicating he had died. It was more than two hours later before Ali's family announced his death in Phoenix.
Samson said the premature tribute, which took place moments after Miami's game against the New York Mets ended, came after he confirmed Ali's death with someone close to the boxer. Samson was unaware the death had yet to be made public.
''There's no way I would have broken the news of Muhammad Ali's passing,'' he said. ''That's certainly for the family to do. But as far as I knew it had already been made public.''
Fans at the Marlins-Mets game Saturday observed a moment of silence for Ali while the video board displayed a photo of the triumphant champion standing over Sonny Liston at the end of their 1965 fight. The same photo was displayed during Friday night's tribute.
Ali had longtime ties to Miami, and he and the Marlins supported each other's charities. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch when Marlins Park opened four years ago.