Sorry about that headline, I couldn’t help myself.
According to several reports, the Florida International Panthers — already entrants on our Honey Badger Award for Extracurricular Excellence race, here (oh, the irony) — have entered into a stadium naming rights deal with a company called the GEO Group.
Who is the GEO Group, you ask?
Here’s the company’s mission statement directly from their website:
The GEO Group is the world’s leading provider of correctional and detention management and community reentry services to federal, state and local government agencies.
With operations in the United States, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom; GEO offers a diversified array of turnkey services which include design, construction, financing, and operations. Our unique approach allows GEO to provide high-quality and cost-effective services with state-of-the-art designs, innovative programs and ground-breaking treatment approach.
I don’t even know where to start here.
Who in their right mind — I’m looking at you Florida International “executive director” Pete Garcia — would think that issuing naming rights to a company that specializes in the detention of prisoners was a good idea?
Call me crazy, but I’m having a hard time seeing the fit here. What image does this portray to the Florida International fan base? Does anyone else see the oddity of this relationship?
It’s almost as strange as the pending naming rights deal between Maker’s Mark and Louisiville’s athletic academic support center, but at least that one has some regional history to it, and while questionable, isn’t overtly irresponsible.
A quick glance at GEO Group’s Wikipedia page is staggering as well, given the questionable incidents they have tried to cover up at their facilities: including alleged full-scale riots, alleged failure to medicate sick patients leading to death, and multiple reports of alleged abuses of juvenile and adults at GEO-owned facilities nationwide.
The questionable release of Mario Cristobal earlier this year — who coincidentally was just hired by Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide — pales in comparison to this bizarre business relationship decision by Pete Garcia and the FIU administration.
I sure hope they know what the hell they are doing.
I certainly don’t.