Reporting Lynne Hayes-Freeland
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If there was ever a fairytale story of a hometown hero who made it big, it would be the tale of Dan Marino.
From South Oakland to Central Catholic to the University of Pittsburgh and then the Miami Dolphins, Marino was the local quarterback who made it.
“We played sports together, and dances, and we had a good high school experience,” said Joe Carcia, Marino’s friend. “I always tell everybody I was the second most famous person that went to Central Catholic because I knew Dan.”
And throughout it all, Marino maintained a hometown boy image on the field and on the TV sports anchor desk; until now, when the New York Post revealed in a report that Marino fathered a child outside of his marriage seven years ago and paid the little girl’s mother millions.
In a statement to the paper, Marino said: “This is a personal and private matter. I take responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then.”
Some things you will never be able to take away from Marino. Like his stats or the field in Oakland that bears his name. But his reputation? Well, that depends on how you talk to.
“Sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger to me,” said Sarah Francis, of Jefferson Hills.
“It’s unfortunate for the kids – that’s the way I look at it,” added Eric Gibson, of San Antonio, Texas.
“I don’t think it changes my opinion of him; I’m not here to judge Dan Marino or his decision,” Bobbi Jo Bridges, of New Orleans, said. “I feel sorry for the people who were hurt along the way, and I hope that people judge him as a human rather than a legacy.”
And people who knew Marino before the fame and fortune say a woman, a production assistant, with a child aren’t enough to forever tarnish the image of the man they watched the kid from Oakland become.
“He was, is one of those athletes you could look up to, really want to emulate,” said Carcia. “And I’m sure he wanted to keep that image and I think he still has that image.”