The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

76ers owner apologizes to kids for landing his helicopter on their soccer field

76ers co-managing owner Josh Harris speaks at a news conference. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Josh Harris, the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, apologized on Wednesday for disrupting a youth soccer match in a way only a billionaire can — he made the Under-13 squads postpone their planned Sunday night match after he had his private helicopter land on the field.

“I sincerely apologize to the kids and their coaches and families for the cancellation of their soccer game in Newark on Sunday night,” Harris said in a statement to Deadspin. “As a Dad, who has spent hundreds of hours watching my kids play sports, I can understand the frustration, and for that, I am truly sorry.”

Harris added that he has taken measures to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, and to make it up to the kids, coaches and their families, he invited everyone to attend an upcoming Devils game.

This isn’t the first time Harris has used the soccer field in question, located at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, as a landing pad.

It is, however, the first time Harris’s chosen method of commute has caused outrage.

According to one of the player’s parents who wrote to Deadspin, Harris’s helicopter landed on the field around 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, just as the two teams were warming up. Security told the teams that they were awaiting Harris, who was attending the Devils 4-3 overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks at the nearby Prudential Center.

“The boys and their families waited in the cold until finally it became clear that Harris was running late and no one knew when he might return to pick up his ride,” the parent wrote. “Eventually, the coaches decided to call the boys’ game and everyone went home disappointed, frustrated and annoyed. I am not sure when or if Harris ever showed up to remove his helicopter from the field, but I hope that he had a great night. There are a number of 12-year-olds and youth soccer fans who did not — because of Harris’s selfish behavior.”