Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been pressured to step down from the NFL’s “social justice” committee, former defensive end Chris Long revealed during a Sports Illustrated interview this week.
“We just removed, or got Stephen Ross to agree to be off a working group,” Long said, boasting of the committee’s accomplishments and autonomous nature.
“Stephen made the decision last week and informed the NFL and members of the working committee that he was going to step aside from the group and continue to focus his efforts at RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality),” a Dolphins spokesperson said in a statement, according to Bleacher Report. “He believes in and is still fully committed to the work that has been done by the group and will always be a passionate supporter and tireless advocate for social justice causes, the fight for equal rights and education.”
Ross was hit with major left-wing backlash earlier this month after he hosted a fundraiser for President Donald Trump. As noted by The Daily Wire, there were calls to boycott Equinox gym and SoulCycle; Ross serves as CEO and majority owner of the brands’ parent company The Related Companies. Now, it appears, the billionaire’s political activism for Trump sparked his removal from the NFL Social Justice Initiative, too.
Learning of the news of Ross’ Trump support, Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills knocked the owner of the team, writing via Twitter, “You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump.” Stills was referencing Ross’ nonprofit RISE.
Politico noted that Mr. Ross has been a longtime GOP donor, though “he has not been a major public supporter of Trump’s in the past.”
Responding to the criticism, Ross issued a statement addressing his Trump support.
“I always have been an active participant in the democratic process. While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about,” said the businessman, according CBS Miami. “I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions.”
“I started my business with nothing and a reason for my engagement with our leaders is my deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy,” he continued. “I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges.”
According to Bleacher Report, there are four other NFL team owners who are members of the Social Justice Initiative, which was launched in January 2018. “The group also includes current and former players like New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams and three-time Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin,” noted the outlet. “The mission statement of the group is to focus on three key pillars of social justice, including education and economic advancement, police and community relations and criminal justice reform.”
"The one thing I really disagree with Eric [Reid] on is that the Coalition hasn't done anything."
Chris Long defends the Players Coalition and announces the removal of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross from the working group committee. pic.twitter.com/d6tup52FiH
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 20, 2019