MIAMI GARDENS — Jason Jenkins, the longtime right-hand man of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and for many in the South Florida community the face of the organization’s public relations efforts, died Saturday following a medical emergency.
The exact cause of death was not initially known.
The Dolphins announced Jenkins’ death at halftime in Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’m heartbroken,” Ross said. “Jason Jenkins was an icon in the Miami community and most importantly a kind and incredible family man. His dedication to our organization was second to none. He was my friend, but above all he was a generous soul. My heart is with Elizabeth and his children tonight. The Jenkins family will always be a part of the Dolphins family.”
Tom Garfinkel, Dolphins Vice Chairman, President and CEO said: “Our hearts are broken and we mourn the loss of a man who was a dear friend and loved by so many. Jason has served the Dolphins organization faithfully for 14 years, been a beacon in the community, a pioneer and advocate for others, and most importantly, treated people with a kindness and dignity that left a lasting mark on everyone he met. Our deepest condolences and unwavering support go out to his wife, Elizabeth, and their three children.”
Jenkins, 47, began working for the Dolphins in 2009 and was promoted to senior vice president of communications and community affairs in 2015. Few, if any, community events supported by the Dolphins have taken place without Jenkins representing the organization.
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Jason Jenkins was honored for his community service over the summer
Jenkins worked tirelessly to unite South Florida and was honored earlier this summer during the 20th Annual Pillar Awards at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. Jenkins received the Corporate Pillar Award.
“We are blessed and honored to receive this award for corporate community citizenship,” Jenkins told the Miami Times. “As a black person, it is not lost to me who I receive this award from.”
In 2018, Jenkins described the support of the Trayvon Martin Foundation by saying he has no interest in “superficial” support and telling the South Florida Times, “We want to support real change.”
He added, “It is important to our owner Stephen Ross and our players and alumni that we support groups and organizations in South Florida that are making change. Everyone in South Florida deserves a level playing field and we are grateful that our platform allows us to bring together people representing a broad spectrum and cross-section of groups.”
Jenkins, a Houston native, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas Tech in 1997. In 2017, his alma mater honored him as the winner of the Outstanding Alumni Award. The following year he served as Texas Tech’s inaugural speaker.
“I want to thank President Lawrence Schovanec and Texas Tech University for this amazing honor,” Jenkins said in a press release announcing his selection. “Growing up in a family that emphasized education and the unifying power of sport, my experience with the Red Raiders was top-notch in every way. I look forward to returning to Lubbock, a place that has produced so many great memories and shaped me into the professional I am today.”
Jenkins lived in Parkland with wife Elizabeth and their children Liya, Aiden and Sloane.
He supported those affected by the mass shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Jenkins has served on the boards of the Anti-Defamation League Florida, Breakthrough Miami, Dolphins Challenge Cancer, Pro Sports Assembly, Urban League of Broward County, Women of Tomorrow, and YWCA Miami.
Jenkins oversaw media relations, public relations, social media and community efforts for the Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Before joining the Dolphins, he worked in the media department for the San Francisco 49ers, was an assistant athletic director at Texas Southern University, and was the athletic sales and publicity director and sports communications assistant at Lehigh University.
Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.
Hal Habib covers the Dolphins for The Post. Support our journalism. Subscribe today.