Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino is in the center of controversy after he had a love child in 2005 and paid the mother millions to keep it quiet, according to an exclusive New York Post article published Thursday.
According to The Post, a married Hall of Fame quarterback who works as an analyst for CBS, admitted to an affair with Donna Savattere, who was a then-35-year-old production assistant with CBS Sports.
Savattere gave birth to their daughter, Chloe, in June 2005, when Marino had been married to his wife for 20 years, according to the paper.
"This is a personal and private matter. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then," Marino told The Post in a written statement. “We mutually agreed to keep our arrangement private to protect all parties involved."
Reached by NBC 6 South Florida Thursday, a spokesman for Marino said he wouldn't comment other than to confirm the statement given to The Post.
The news broke as Marino and his wife were celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary Wednesday, according to The Post.
"My wife and I have been married for almost 30 years and have six children together," Marino wrote in the statement. "And we continue to be a strong and loving family."
It's unknown exactly how much Marino paid but sources told the Post Savattere received millions to care for the child, who is now seven, the paper reported.
Marino, 51, spent his entire career in Miami, where he was named to nine Pro Bowl teams and won the NFL MVP in 1984 after guiding the Dolphins to Super Bowl XIX, which they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
Marino is set to cover the Super Bowl this weekend in New Orleans.
"Dan has said all there is to say on this matter, and will be in his usual role on our broadcast Super Bowl Sunday," CBS Sports spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle said in a written statement to NBC 6 South Florida.
Local fans were split in their response to the Marino news. Brian Levor said the revelation doesn't especially change his opinion of Marino.
"What he did on the field, I'm willing to separate from his personal escapades," he said.
Savanna Melchoi took the opposite view.
"It really does change my opinion because he's like a big idol to everybody," she said. "He’s a football legend."
Plantation psychologist Dr. Mitch Spero noted that Marino has been admired as “an intelligent man, an amazing athlete, a fabulous leader, somebody that children looked up to.”
And whether Marino likes it or not, we expect better from our heroes, Spero said.
“They have to know that the community has a right to know more about them as they have earned that spot on the pedestal,” he said.
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