Marlins: Ali Family Not Unhappy About Premature Tribute
Muhammed Ali's family is "not unhappy" about the Miami Marlins' tribute to Muhammed Ali, said the team's President David Samson.
"I reached out to someone very close to the family," Samson said Saturday. "Everything is fine. This came from the heart."
A photograph of Ali was exhibited on their video board by the Marlins Friday night, flashing that he had died. This preceded the family's announcement.
Samson had not been aware that the death had not been made public. However, he confirmed the death with someone who was close to the boxer and then announced the premature tribute just a few moments after Miami's game against the New York Mets ended.
"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."
A moment of silence was observed by Ali's fans at the Marlins-Mets game Saturday, even as the video board showed a photo of the champion standing over Sonny Liston following the 1965 fight. Friday night's tribute displayed the same photograph.
Ali and the Miami Marlins had supported each other's charities. The heavyweight champion threw out the ceremonial first pitch four years ago. That was the eventful moment when Marlins Park opened.
The awesome heavyweight champion, whose fast fists and activist streak went beyond the sports field and riveted the world, died at the age of 74, according to a statement released Friday, June 3, 2016, by his family.
As he was such a public figure, his funeral, and jenazah, or Muslim funeral prayer service, will open to the public, according to his spokesman Bob Gunnell.
One of the venues of his burial will be his last hometown fight in Louisville, Kentucky.
His jenazah will happen at noon Thursday at Freedom Hall, where he had once defeated Willi Besmanoff on November 29, 1961.
About 14,000 tickets will be available on a first come, first service basis. It will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Gunnell said. A maximum of four tickets at every request will be available to the public from the Freedom Hall box office.