There was some concern among Dolphins players last summer, with a few wanting to support Colin Kaepernick’s protest by taking a knee during the national anthem, but worried how it would appear in the Sept. 11 season opener.
As it turns out, the guy who convinced them it was OK was Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Dolphins defensive back Michael Thomas told Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post that Ross made it clear to them before that game against the Seahawks that taking a stand by taking a knee was fine.
Thomas said after explaining his concerns to Ross, the owner replied: “I’ve got y’all’s back 100 percent.”
“I remember that like it was yesterday,” Thomas said. “With everything racing through our minds, trying to decide if that was something we would actually go through with, of taking a knee, . . . September 11th — that’s a whole different aspect.
“I saw Mr. Ross come in the locker room. I’m going up to him, trying to explain to him in a way, letting him know, like, ‘Look, we’re thinking about doing this, thinking about taking a knee.’ And for him to stop me and say, ‘Look, Mike, whatever y’all choose to do today, I’ve got y’all’s back 100 percent’ — that’s a testament to what type of person he is, how he truly feels about equality for all, and the efforts he’s made with the RISE program. It’s great to have the owner of the Dolphins have that perspective.
“It’d be great to see more owners take after him.”
The RISE program (the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) was founded by the owner in 2015 to use his sports platform for social causes.
It continues a trend of conscious stands from Ross, who has also hosted players at a “business combine” this offseason, and was the lone dissenting vote against the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas (though it didn’t stop him from voting for the Rams’ move to Los Angeles the year before).