Earlier today, Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills articulated in his own name and with his own words a specific concern regarding Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Ross communicated his response not in his own name and not with his own words but through an unnamed source.
The “source close to Ross” told Safid Deen of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Ross, who started a nonprofit foundation that promotes racial equality and social justice in sports, does not support President Trump’s views on race — even though Ross is hosting a quarter-million-per-head fundraiser for President Trump’s re-election bid.
“They agree on some things and disagree on others, specifically on the rhetoric around race,” the unnamed source told Deen. “With regards to race, Stephen’s record on fighting racism speaks for itself. It is possible to support someone on the basis of some things, and not agree with everything about them.”
That last part is accurate, but it’s one thing to disagree on policy issues or other legitimate planks of a party’s platform. It’s quite another to acknowledge the existence of what amounts to a fundamental, inherent flaw of character and leadership, but to treat that like a disagreement over tariffs or taxes.
It’s no surprise that Ross is treading lightly. Merely suggesting that the current president has an issue with “rhetoric around race” would invite a “no I’m not, you are” rebuke, along with a cold shoulder, a rescission of access, and/or some sort of affirmative retaliation. Ultimately, that’s the most remarkable aspect of the anonymous quote: Ross acknowledges that there’s a problem with racial rhetoric from President Trump, even if President Trump would never, ever concede that point.
On one hand, it’s refreshing that Ross realizes the existence of the problem. On the other hand, it would be far better if Ross and others who ostensibly support the current president would be willing to stand up and say it, loudly, clearly, and unmistakably.