Dolphins owner Stephen Ross sends clear message on national anthem

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In case soon-to-be free agent safety Eric Reid‘s and other protesting players are wondering how they’ll be received in the market, here’s another suggestion it won’t be warmly.

According to Christian Red of the New York Daily News, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said that any protests performed by Dolphins players this year won’t be during the national anthem.

All of our players will be standing,” Ross said.

Interestingly enough, his comments came before an event for the Jackie Robinson Foundation, where he was given their ROBIE lifetime achievement award for being a “longtime champion of equal opportunity.”

And while Ross said he initially sided with players who sat or took a knee during the anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, he said he was swayed by the fact that President Donald Trump turned the anthem into a political talking point — flipping the protests into something degrading to the military, and loudly criticizing players who knelt, saying he’d fire any “son of a bitch” who didn’t stand.

“Initially, I totally supported the players in what they were doing. It’s America and people should be able to really speak about their choices,” Ross said.  “When that message changed (by Trump), and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling.

“I like Donald. I don’t support everything that he says. Overall, I think he was trying to make a point, and his message became what kneeling was all about. From that standpoint, that is the way the public is interpreting it. So I think that’s really incumbent upon us to adopt that. That’s how, I think, the country now is interpreting the kneeling issue.”

So because many people have misunderstood (or chosen to not hear) the original intention of the protests, and because one very loud person has capitalized on that misunderstanding (or willful ignorance) and people have chosen to adopt that version, the Dolphins will not be sanctioning peaceful protest this year.

Ross discussing his friendship with Trump makes it clear that the NFL’s biggest desire in this situation is for all the noise to go away, and they’re willing to yield to the person who screams the loudest to make that happen.

That will be news to Dolphins players such as Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, and Julius Thomas, who knelt last year. Then again, Julius Thomas is about to be released, and Michael Thomas is about to be a free agent.

And at a time when the Texans vow they won’t be treating protesting players any differently (though some disagree), it doesn’t paint a very welcoming picture for those who want to use their platform to talk about issues which make their owners uncomfortable.

103 responses to “Dolphins owner Stephen Ross sends clear message on national anthem

  1. “So because many people have misunderstood (or chosen to not hear) the original intention of the protests”

    Nobody cares about intentions. It’s all about perception, because perception is reality.

  2. Instead of kneeling they should skip a game and go volunteer for a charity that they support. They will get fined (the money goes to charity) and they will raise a lot of awareness for whatever charity they choose

  3. The National Anthem is a song which honors the battle of Fort McHenry, it is a song that the military greatly honors, as do Veterans.

    So when these over paid idiots protest it, they are insulting the military and veterans who served in the military.

    Their workplace is not the appropriate place for political protests anyway. Add to that, people depend on NFL games to escape from all of the political BS that we’re bombarded with throughout the rest of the week.

    So when they drag politics into even that last refuge from politics, the fans turn away from the NFL and when the fans turn away from the NFL, ratings fall and when ratings fall, the salary cap will eventually shrink.

    A few idiot players will kill the golden goose, then blame the fans who turned away from them.

  4. The players work for the owners. I would not be allowed to do that at my job and seriously, wouldn’t do it even if I could. Choose not to listen? It seems it is you that is choosing not to listen to the majority of Americans.

  5. “So because many people have misunderstood (or chosen to not hear) the original intention of the protests, and because one very loud person has capitalized on that misunderstanding (or willful ignorance), the Dolphins will not be sanctioning peaceful protest this year.”

    I haven’t misunderstood the original intent of this protest.

    But the media and the protesters have manipulated what it is about so they can feel better about it.

    There are much better ways to facilitate change than insulting people on a national stage.

  6. “and they’re willing to yield to the person who screams the loudest to make that happen.”

    That would be the paying customer!

  7. About time! Protest, by all means if that is what you desire. But don’t do it during our National Anthem, please. There are lots of more appropriate places to protest. There are appropriate places and their are inappropriate places for this. Something this generation doesnt seem to understand in this age of “everybody do exactly how they FEEL, while giving no thought to your neighbor”. I think this can easily be handled in a way that respects everyone. Well done, sir. There is no avenue where people on a job get to do exactly what they want and when in particular if it “the customers” don’t like it. The customer is number one, at least it used to be in successful businesses.

  8. So because many people have misunderstood (or chosen to not hear) the original intention of the protests, and because one very loud person has capitalized on that misunderstanding“”

    No no, we understand why they were protesting, but found it totally unacceptable to protest during our countries anthem. Protest in a less provocative way… by protesting the anthem the players are forcing people to pick a side, and people chose. And it certainly wasn’t Donald Trump that made me notice.. But he happened to have the correct stance in my opinion. just because he’s loud does t mean he can’t be correct.

  9. Good for him! Go up to a kneeler and ask why they are kneeling. They couldn’t even give you a reason, they just did it because someone else did. President Trump wins again. I love it! If you don’t want to stand, then you don’t deserve to play.

  10. Nothing was misunderstood. It doesn’t matter what the kneeling issue is about. The problem people have is that the kneelers highjacked the moment we as Americans honor our country and military for their own politics.

  11. Your “So because many people have misunderstood (or chosen to not hear) the original intention of the protests” utterance is insulting and ignores the fact that the intention was grossly anti-American in it’s doing. While everyone I know realizes there is a problem, none agree with the protest method. You are most certainly one of those who should see the situation differently.Yea, YOU.

  12. Smdh…..So Ross is taking etiquette direction amtd thinks Trump has the “Final Word” on what player demonstrations stand for? Lol So the “Draft Dodger EXTRAORDINAIRE” gets to determine what is “DISRESPECTFUL” to the Military?? 😂🤣😂🤣🙏🏽

  13. I agree with Mr. Ross, it seems the reason for protest grew from inequality to disgracing police and military.

  14. If the movement begins with a lie (CK= fraud) then the rest needs to be ignored or started again by someone with a positive plan.

    How about just doing some good (like most of the ‘man of the year candidates who do things without fanfare because they want to give back? Or just give?

  15. Too late. Already started watching way less football last year and really enjoyed having my Sundays back. NFL is going the way of the Oscars and every other award show… once you get political- buh bye!

  16. Their “platform” may be their status as nfl players, but their “forum” should be outside the confines of their job location. In any business environment (and they insist that football is a business), the employees are not and should not be allowed to inject politics into the work place. Ask the Silicon Valley employee who was fired for expressing his conservative views at work.

  17. Wow, so much to comment about this one. First, employees do not inherently have the right to protest about social issues while they are in the workplace. And the football field is the players’ workplace. They can do as they like outside of their workplace on their own time but not in their work context. And second, public perceptions do matter. For example much of the public perceives the NFL as entertainment and chooses to ignore the brutality of the sport, the rate of serious injuries, the use of steroids in order to compete at even higher levels to survive. So, reacting to public perception regarding sideline protests is no different. Feed the public perception to keep the money flowing for both owners and players. And, by rather way, I am a huge NFL fan.

  18. Don’t do anything political, but just stand there and watch this half-hour military recruitment drive before the start of every game.
    Oil companies and other land grabbers need you to enlist, to go fight and die in wars based on lies.

  19. The kneeing isn’t accomplishing what it was intended to. Time to stand and try something different. If the dialogue is to be open and honest, you can’t perform an act that offends so many to get it started. There are issues that need discussing and fixing. Time to find a way to bring those to the table without making over half the country angry. Kap made a mistake wearing the pig socks and for many, that’s unforgivable. I didn’t say it was right, but that’s a fact.

  20. Goes with your earlier report of another team said this but then didn’t when they had to address the media. I’d imagine 90% of owners and coaches feel this way. As do 90% of americans. Too bad we have to live with you 10% of cry sacks who always want their way.

  21. So basically because one idiot doesn’t understand the message, he is going to understand it the same way, even though he states he understood it correctly initially.

    I’m all for players kneeling and I’m all for owners wanting their players to stand… But this is the reason Ross dictates that they stand?

    Not sure I am a Ross fan anymore. This and “I like Donald” may have swayed me the other way.

  22. In the second paragraph: “Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said that any protests performed by Dolphins players this year won’t be during the national anthem.”

    But the rest of the article editorializes that this ROBIE winning owner is so heavy handed that he won’t allow any protest.

    So which is it? There is a big difference between no protests at all and no protests during the anthem.

  23. Was it the President or the kneeling players screaming the loudest? Maybe it was the fans that respect the military for their service that were screaming.

  24. How many jobs allow protesting while working? I’d be fired if I protested while on the clock and in uniform. These athletes have 4-5 months off every year and I don’t see many of the players who kneel making a tour of the country speaking about their “issues”. They protest when it suits them and gives them notoriety.

  25. It’s a legitimate point. The players can’t control how people perceive or interpret their actions. If I were to burn an American flag or don a white hood to protest racial inequality (obviously absurd examples), it should hardly come as a shock if some people ‘misinterpret’ my gestures.

    Is it ‘fair’ that Trump was able to subvert their protest? Perhaps not, but life doesn’t have to be fair and Trump is a master of playing PR games. If the players want to continue to communicate their message, they will need to find a different avenue to do so, as their previous one has become untenable.

  26. I applaud Stephen Ross for evolving and taking a stand. Ross with his record of being a champion of equal opportunity can’t be called a racist!

  27. The way the players have gone about their protest has been all wrong. Most people don’t even know what they are protesting. Why use the national anthem as your device for protest? It is only going to be divisive, and hurt your statement. Why not refuse to do any interviews unless you are allowed to state your case first? At least people then hear your message. And then if the team stops you from doing interviews due to your views, you can sue the team for infringing on your 1st right amendments. The flag was the totally wrong way to go in my view. Juts hurt themselves, and their message got lost in the wash.

  28. Give me a break. By definition the protesting players politicized the whole matter. Agree or disagree, it was a clear and overt politicization by the protesting players in the context of the whole Black Lives Matter movement. The level of hypocrisy and mental gymnastics required to believe otherwise is astounding. The fact is that the vast majority of people did not agree with the forum, means and, for that matter, the context of the protest and were offended, turned off, bemused, and/ or bored. The NFL was slow to act and I believe many owners were offended by that…..justifiably so.

  29. He’s made billions in shady real estate deals mostly off the government. Specialized in sheltering money to pay as little tax as possible to the US of A. Never spent a minute in uniform. Now he wants to lecture players on patriotism.

  30. In most businesses, an employee who angers/alienates a significant percentage of customers is fired post haste.

  31. You guys are going to back and forth on this garbage and Im just sitting here like when does the XFL start? Sorry people, the fans are gone and not coming back. We’ve found better things to do already.

  32. Oscars viewership hits an all time low, football rating down, people just want to be entertained plus if I did this at my job after my boss told me not to do it I would be FIRED. The employer sets the rules if you don’t like it go find another job

  33. Protesting is driving the ratings down and will continue to do so. The league needs.to make players understand that their money is tied to people watching football. It is that simple.

  34. “Interestingly enough, his comments came before an event for the Jackie Robinson Foundation, where he was given their ROBIE lifetime achievement award for being a “longtime champion of equal opportunity.”

    I guess this means Darin thinks the players should have an equal opportunity to drive the league’s fans away on company time.

    Not everyone gets paid like you to agitate – these guys are paid to play, period.

  35. I can’t protest while on the clock at my work. I can speak my mind on my free time as is my right.

    Players in a game are on the clock , in uniform and being paid to play, not protest.

    I don’t see why they are any different than you or I.

    Let it end there.

  36. It used to be enough for media folks to witness, investigate, report…now they all just want to manufacture and drive a story. And they are successful in continually dredging up points of contention, health of society be damned. These brave “knights of the keyboard,” as Ted Williams derided them.

  37. To the writer of this story, what is the ” original” message? So kneeling during OUR National Anthem changes social injustice! Or does it insight people to think even more negative feelings. Perception is reality and if a player feels he is kneeling for one reason..others felt it was against our flag and military. I’m a Veteran and I fought for their right to do so and I’ll stand by that. BUT, to continue to do it and hearing players talk about injustice and how they have been treated unfairly ( when most of them went to college for free and have been handed everything because they play football well) and make more in one year then 95% of America won’t make in a lifetime what they make a year. Kinda rubs some the wrong way. They should Spend their time like Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, JJ Watt ect actually doing something for their area instead of wearing ‘ pig socks’ and suing the NFL because you suck might bring a positive thought over what some ( myself included) feel is disrespectful.

  38. You aren’t very smart to categorize all patriots who are not in lockstep with your Kool-Aid as “willfully ignorant.” Wonder if your sponsors care?

  39. Your comment is awaiting moderation. says:

    How about stopping the problem the players are kneeling for? If you stop that there will be no reason to kneel has anyone ever thought of that???
    ==========================================================

    So stop capitalism and impose marxism on the USA? Because that’s what it’s about.

  40. FoozieGrooler says:

    Don’t do anything political, but just stand there and watch this half-hour military recruitment drive before the start of every game.
    ——————————————————————

    Even if there was a “half-hour military recruitment drive before the start of every game”, would you rather have a draft?

  41. The problem is the fact there are so many better platforms for players to express their views. And police brutality is a drop in the bucket when compared with the carnage in cities like Chicago. Unfortunately, pro athletes don’t want to address the real problems of inequality, so the protests have been a failure. The answer to shutting down the protests is simply to keep the players in the locker room.

  42. otheirony says:
    March 6, 2018 at 6:52 am
    The players work for the owners. I would not be allowed to do that at my job and seriously, wouldn’t do it even if I could. Choose not to listen? It seems it is you that is choosing not to listen to the majority of Americans.
    _____________________________________________________
    I highly doubt that you’d ever be asked to participate in a staged public display like that at your job. Also, I seriously question your implied statistics. I don’t think most people are worked up over this. It’s just that the people who are love nothing more than to bitch and scream about everything that anyone else does that they don’t agree with, while at the same time crying about how everyone else is supposedly trying to tell them what they shouldn’t do.

  43. I guess kneeling to protest police brutality is less patriotic than say, colluding with Russia to undermine our electoral process, or screw many American businesses to advantage real estate developers such as yourself…
    Got it.

  44. I’m going to be honest. If you use terms like the “race card,” don’t understand that these players aren’t disrespecting the military — many of their family members serve in this country — and feel alienated by athletes using their platform to raise awareness about a societal issue that not only affects them personally but affects their family members, you my friend are a racist. It doesn’t get any clearer than that and you can’t try and deny it.

  45. Now that America has seen and heard the reasons for the players protests they can now cease as their message has been heard.its now up to those they are protesting to act or not to act upon those protests.taking further knees this upcoming season during the Anthem does nothing at all to further their message that has now been heard loud and clear.further protests will simply turn more Americans against them.

  46. Another out of touch owner thinking that he can bluster his players into doing what he wants. He can try, but what is he going to do if half the team decides to defy him? Lol, good luck with all that, which is at the crux of this issue to begin with. Team owners didn’t know what to do when their players defied them because they don’t see them as equal partners, which they are. This isn’t your other business interests where your employees are all replaceable. At some point, some of these idiots will figure that out and quit while they’re ahead.

  47. @smoothrobinva There are many countries where people get paid a lot of money to play a game. European soccer players and race car drivers make much more than football players, women’s basketball players go to other countries to make more money, idk that’s an easy answer. You can make a lot of money to play basketball in Iraq, just ask Marshall Henderson.

  48. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, as well as their departed friend Peter Norman, disagree.

  49. vabeachguy says:
    March 6, 2018 at 6:45 am
    The National Anthem is a song which honors the battle of Fort McHenry, it is a song that the military greatly honors, “as do Veterans.”

    Please do not speak for me. The oath I took was to (in short version) defend and honor the constitution, and obey the orders of those above me. Nothing more. No songs, borders, flags, or other symbols. The first amendment rights of those who protest are one of the actual reasons we are (were) soldiers. Without our ability to speak out without fear we are no longer free. So the the real enemy here is those who try to silence those who are exercising there rights as an American.

    That said, I have to agree with Steven Ross. The reason for the protests have been lost in the noise of those who are so into symbolism that the lost America.

  50. “We’re going to suck again this year, and embarrass and disappoint our fans on a weekly basis as has been our tradition for many years. But by gum, we’ll make sure we pander to conservative snowflakes! That’s something we can actually succeed at.

    “I’m rich, was handed all my financial opportunities by family, and am pretty much completely ineffective in my role as team owner, but I can tell people what to do, so I will.”

  51. Such BS. Donald Trump gets to tell everyone why the players are kneeling instead of the players themselves? Money is the most important thing to these people. NFL needs some competition, but they have a monopoly so any league that starts up is just competing to be number 2.

  52. “So because many people have misunderstood (or chosen to not hear) the original intention of the protests” I think YOU and the PLAYERS have misunderstood. Police is a local/state function. National Anthem is a NATIONAL function and the NATIONAL police is the US Army. So we weren’t the one who misunderstood. Social injustice is also done on a state/local level. The players should go and talk to the governors in their respective cities.

  53. The owners have to be tough and unified. These players are costing them and the league money! I know several hardcore football fans that tuned out last season. I couldn’t because my Eagles were doing so well but many did. All the excuses won’t change the fact that we know a big cause of the drop in ratings is caused due to not standing during the Anthem. Players who are choosing symbolism over what is in the best interests of the league need to be suspended and fined.

  54. If players want to be outspoken, that’s fine… But when they’re on the field being paid millions of dollars, they’re not going to be allowed to hurt the league or the perception of the league by kneeling. The NBA has that in their agreement with the union.

    I have a hard time faulting the owners for any of that.

  55. When you disrespect the National Anthem you are disrespecting the USA. Your intentions make no difference. You have arbitrarily assigned a meaning to a specific disrespectful act. If one burns down a Catholic Church and then claims to be protesting Catholic Church policies, you have still committed a crime. Your assignment of “meaning” to the act is meaningless.

  56. Sooooo…

    Then, if the players just decide to boycott a game, would that be okay? It’s not disrespecting the military or any veterans. I think the bottom line is that a lot of the public & owners don’t want the players to show any type of disapproval of things through their work place in any way, shape or form.

    While regular people everyday boycott work and go picket to show their disapproval on things in their lives that matter to them.

  57. Kaep can’t read defenses in much the same way that the British couldn’t figure out Baltimore’s layered earthworks and mutually reinforcing fort network. Life is so funny sometimes.

  58. Let’s bring this back up to bring out the idiots. Good job DG.

    Does anyone else notice how those who use the word “kneeler” have a funny tone to their message. Maybe it’s just me.

  59. No no, we understand why they were protesting, but found it totally unacceptable to protest during our countries anthem.
    ——————-
    Ya know what I find unacceptable? Police brutality. But priorities I guess? For you it’s the song, for others it’s actual human life. But whatever you find most important.

    -A Veteran

  60. Your comment is awaiting moderation. says:
    March 6, 2018 at 7:34 am
    How about stopping the problem the players are kneeling for? If you stop that there will be no reason to kneel has anyone ever thought of that???

    —–

    Yes we have thought about that. But then they will just find something else to “protest” about. Have YOU ever thought of that?

  61. I as a veteran totally support their right to protest but with that protest you might expect that people are going to disagree with how you go about it. That is just how it works. And what many of us don’t like is that if we disagree we are somehow bigots or racists?

    They might be surprised just how much support they might get if they went about it a different way.

  62. And the media for once got their just deserts: they chose to highlight protesting players particularly CBS and their ratings suffered as a result. They tried to hurt Trump and America and only hurt themselves! Karma!

  63. What Stephen Ross should do now is ask his coach to possibly hire Colin Kaepernick as a back up quarterback for the Dolphins. Colin would be better than the current potential back ups. That would send a powerful message to the public and his players; Who would all stand for the National Anthem out of respect for Stephen Ross.

  64. What these anthem protest supporters still, after over a year, cannot get through their heads is that when people use symbols of our country to protest, the majority of us do not care what they’re protesting because they lost us. You could be protesting that there’s no cure for cancer but if you burn my flag or refuse to stand for the anthem as a way to show it then I’m not going to listen to anything you say.

  65. savethebs says:
    March 6, 2018 at 10:36 am
    No no, we understand why they were protesting, but found it totally unacceptable to protest during our countries anthem.
    ——————-
    Ya know what I find unacceptable? Police brutality. But priorities I guess? For you it’s the song, for others it’s actual human life. But whatever you find most important.

    -A Veteran“”

    With all do respect, police brutality happens to other races not just black people… and furthermore many of the police brutality stories that started this movement were embellished lies. So no, i’m not throwing away my patriotism and pride for my country because someone tells me to. Sorry.

  66. All the owners could say, beginning the next Football year any type of Political and social activism will be considered against team policy.
    Players have every right to do so outside team activities. Otherwise what other groups will start using freedom of speech to interrupt games practices etc..
    Or the networks broadcasting the game can send the players demonstrating a Bill representing time the stations must pay for broadcast rights. It is not an NFL sanctioned activity. Anybody else has to pay for commercials for their cause to the networks. Players will think it is a thing to do, UNTIL they have to pay for the audience weither in the stands or at home or sports clubs. This should go for re broadcasts to the games as well.

  67. Let’s not allow President Trump to turn the protest into a political talking point about respect for the flag! Kaepernick explained clearly that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

  68. So protesting police brutality against all people is unpatriotic, but it’s okay to support a dotard who insulted all POWs, skipped out on the draft due to nonexistent bone spurs, voluntarily shares classified intelligence with Russian officials, and says that trade wars are easy to win when the last real trade war we had resulted in the Great Depression.

    It’s not the players who need to get their priorities straight.

  69. I’m tired of white, entitled billionaires telling me what I can and cannot do.

    Police brutality is out of control in this country. It just is. Please fix it, and then the players won’t have to kneel, stand, not kneel, sit, squat, or do any other damn thing but put a hand on their heart and get ready for the game.

    Or keep letting police using black kids as target practice and we will make every single NFL game, college game, MLB game, NBA game about this one issue. It will be in your face until you fix it, white people. So get to work fixing policing in this country or get used to people kneeling at your games. There is no third option.

  70. Because Roger Goodell doesn’t have the balls to demand that all team members stand for the anthem, I guess the individual owners must do it themselves. I guess forty million doesn’t buy much anymore.

  71. god forbid anyone challenge the wisdom of almighty ‘Merica…you will stand up for a song that honestly doesn’t even have any business being played during a for-profit game that means nothing…we need to stop treating the military and law enforcement like they are gods that can never be questioned

  72. So, he stood with the players until it was inconvenient. Then he changed his point of view to one that made people happier. MY HERO!!!!!!

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