As Stephen Ross catches flak for supporting the President, who’s next?

AP

An anonymous quote given to four different publications didn’t work. An on-the-record statement with more holes than his team’s roster didn’t work, either.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross finds himself on the receiving end of extensive criticism from Dolphins players, Dolphins fans, and customers of two businesses he owns (SoulCycle and Equinox) for his planned fundraiser on behalf of President Trump.

From the nuanced point made by Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills regarding the conflict between the mission of the RISE foundation established by Ross and the words and actions of the President to the polarizing nature of partisan politics in a climate fueled by concerns that racially-charged language has planted the seeds of murder, Ross has become one of the first billionaire supporters of Donald Trump to experience a strong negative reaction.

Making matters worse? A clumsy effort by the CEO of SoulCycle to distance the company from Ross, calling him a passive investor. He’s not a passive investor — he owns the company. More specifically, he owns the conglomerate (the Related Companies) that owns the company. It’s his business.

So here’s the real question: Who’s next? Plenty of NFL owners have financially supported President Trump in the past, from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to Washington owner Daniel Snyder to Patriots owner Robert Kraft to Jets owner Woody Johnson (who scored an ambassadorship in exchange for getting on the #TrumpTrain at an early stop) to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to Bucs owner Edward Glazer to Jags owner Shad Khan to Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

Ross currently may be thinking, “Why are they getting a free pass?” Maybe, soon, they won’t be.

If/when other owners start hearing four-letter words for their support of the five-letter Commander-in-Chief, it will be interesting to see what they do. If they choose to take a page from the Stephen Ross playbook and say something like “we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions,” it will be fair to ask Ross and the rest to identify the issues on which they disagree with the President and to feel free to express those opinions publicly.

73 responses to “As Stephen Ross catches flak for supporting the President, who’s next?

  1. Christ, players are going to dictate the politics of their employers now? This is getting out of hand. Just collect your sweet paycheck and call it a day. You want more of the pie? By all means, negotiate for it. But this nonsense about putting people’s politics on trial needs to stop. Now.

    No owner asks their players how they vote on election day.

    No player should demand their owner to vote a particular way either.

  2. Don’t these players know they’re employees? They’ve been coddled their whole life just because they are good athletes. You don’t like what the owner of your company says or does go find a different job! Nobody is forcing you to get payed millions to play a sport.

  3. Donating or supporting is one thing, but by holding a fundraiser you are planting your flag.

    As much as one could say POTUS is “our” team, the message from today’s politicians from both sides are not about “we” but “us vs them”, often just for their political benefit.

    In this climate, going as far as firmly picking a side either a fundraiser and planting that flag) understandably risks alienating half of your business base. Ross should understand that as a businessman.

  4. When 70% of your employees come from a community that the president routinely criticizes, you can’t be surprised that the players are offended by that.

  5. Richard Nguyen says:
    August 8, 2019 at 11:59 am
    Christ, players are going to dictate the politics of their employers now? This is getting out of hand. Just collect your sweet paycheck and call it a day. You want more of the pie? By all means, negotiate for it. But this nonsense about putting people’s politics on trial needs to stop. Now.

    No owner asks their players how they vote on election day.

    No player should demand their owner to vote a particular way either.

    —————————–

    The owner can support who he wants and players are free to be critical of that. They aren’t dictating anything, just expressing themselves.

  6. A team that’s deliberately tanking may have troubles drawing interest and signing free agents next year to go along with that number one overall draft choice…

  7. Players should be taking that sweet money and helping their communities they grew up in instead of complaining about who someone votes for

  8. Where’s all the outrage for cutting this guy? If it were the opposite way around, people would be protesting and CNN would be all over it.

  9. Why can’t a private citizen support any candidate they want? If anyone 100% agrees with any candidate they are lying or crazy. Why can’t Stills vote for who he wants and Ross vote for who he wants?

  10. wiscobob says:
    August 8, 2019 at 12:11 pm
    A team that’s deliberately tanking may have troubles drawing interest and signing free agents next year to go along with that number one overall draft choice
    !++++++++++++++++++
    Everyone assumes they are tanking but Flores is actually doing the best he can.

  11. Just because one large group claims that someone is something, doesn’t make that true. Politics is out of control as is the PC machine…

  12. maybe owners should try to dictate who the players support politically and hold the players more accountable for there off field issues….

  13. I’ve steered clear of bad mouthing Stills for his kneeling even though I do not like it, however I think it’s time they rid themselves of this guy. Seems he is not happy unless there is drama surrounding him and they do not need any more drama.

    I understand it is his right because of freedom of speech but he also has the freedom to mind his own business.

  14. Frankly, it is no surprise that a billionaire would support POTUS’s policies and belief system. These guys support with their wallet to ensure their financials are enhanced. That’s not front page news.

    Guy’s without that financial affluence are driven by socio-economic beliefs. Sure it’s class warfare but nobody should be surprised by it…and nothing will change. Totally opposite perspectives.

    Ross does what he does and so be it. Same goes for the player or players.

    Everyone else? Get on with your lives.

  15. If a person expresses their political views publicly, a subset of the community is going to react negatively. But every citizen has the right to speak their minds and vote with their wallets. This includes the players. And the fans.

  16. Ross may be a successful businessman, but he’s a terrible sports owner. I can’t imagine fans of any other team wishing he was their owner, and the majority of Dolphins fans probably feel the same way.

  17. Trade the him. He get’s paid to play football. The owner doesn’t tell him who to vote for or support. That is why the saints said bye to him, can’t keep his mouth shut.

  18. waldoampere says:
    August 8, 2019 at 12:10 pm
    When 70% of your employees come from a community that the president routinely criticizes, you can’t be surprised that the players are offended by that.
    ————————————

    So what if their offended. Has anyone said the President is wrong about the criticism he gave?

  19. Careful Stills, you are not indispensable ! The man pays you millions , no complaint there, I’m sure!

  20. “Stephen Ross finds himself on the receiving end of extensive criticism from Dolphins players, Dolphins fans, and customers of two businesses he owns”

    Why are all these comments being directed at specifically Kenny Stills? Unless you all are saying Florio is lying in this post, it’s MANY people who are pointing out the very clear contradiction of RISE’s mission statement – “We are a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.” – and Ross throwing a fundraiser for someone who has openly fought FOR social injustice and OPENLY and PUBICLY discriminated against multiple minority races, AND charging a quarter of a million dollars per participant when it is supposed to be non-profit, effectively discluding all of us without enough income to attend.

    Stills and the people pointing out this very clear and real contradiction are right and are well within their first amendment rights to speak out pubicly about this contradiction.

  21. Stills should keep his mouth shut and worry about his play, or lack thereof. Ross has a right to support any political candidate he wants. Like you have a right to kneel on the flag. Run for office if you think your being wronged. If not, at least run the right pattern.

  22. The left is all inclusive as long as you agree with them, otherwise they’ll bully you and attack you both verbally and physically, before complaining about bullying and attacks.

  23. Of course Ross is allowed to support whatever racist official he wants.
    But if he’s surprised that there is backlash, then that is him living in his own bubble.

  24. finfanjim says:
    August 8, 2019 at 12:30 pm
    Just because one large group claims that someone is something, doesn’t make that true. Politics is out of control as is the PC machine…

    ——-

    If you’re talking about Trump being a racist….well he proves it on almost a daily basis. No intelligent person needs to be convinced by another of this fact. It is self-evident.

  25. Imagine if conservatives took the “torches and pitchforks” mob approach to bully anyone who disagreed with them? Can’t, because we are at WORK…..

  26. Building a wall to stop ILLEGAL immigrants is not racism. And yes, the word is illegal, not “undocumented.” The whole thing about that price point for the dinner is raising funds, and if the market will bear it, so be it.

    Care to comment on Bill Clinton’s average speech fee of over $200k?

  27. How on earth people can live with themselves after voting for a descendant of HItler, I have no idea.

    It’s just fascinating how some people think more and more money somehow makes them a more special person in our society.

    It doesn’t.

    No one will care that Stephen Ross got a tax cut after he’s dead and buried.

  28. joetoronto says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm
    The left is all inclusive as long as you agree with them, otherwise they’ll bully you and attack you both verbally and physically, before complaining about bullying and attacks.

    0 3 Rate This

    ———————-

    So, what if you’re in the middle, though? Like a progressive on social issues, but a fiscal conservative?

    This is the problem with you weird right wing nutbags..You think you have to label everything as you refuse to read books and learn history. See, I just labeled you.

  29. So what if their offended. Has anyone said the President is wrong about the criticism he gave?
    ——
    Certainly not rich white men. But I think everyone with a room temperature IQ knows the president is wrong (or just flat out lying) most anytime he opens his mouth.

  30. dadsource says:

    August 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Imagine if conservatives took the “torches and pitchforks” mob approach to bully anyone who disagreed with them? Can’t, because we are at WORK…..
    ——————————————

    Are you serious? Charlottesville anyone? Or I guess conservatives think running over a crowd of people with your cars and committing mass murder is a better way of showing your patriotism?

  31. tylawspick6 says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    How on earth people can live with themselves after voting for a descendant of HItler, I have no idea.
    ————————————

    If you read books like you say you would realize that Hltler was a socialist that believed in a centralized government that controlled everything. I don’t think you read at all.

  32. Catch flak for supporting the president. Never thought I’d see the day…..
    ——
    I agree. I’ll never understand how a narcissist, sexist, racist, pathological lying, justice obstructing low browed man-child like Trump ever got elected.

  33. tylawspick6 says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm
    joetoronto says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm
    The left is all inclusive as long as you agree with them, otherwise they’ll bully you and attack you both verbally and physically, before complaining about bullying and attacks.

    0 3 Rate This

    ———————-

    So, what if you’re in the middle, though? Like a progressive on social issues, but a fiscal conservative?

    This is the problem with you weird right wing nutbags..You think you have to label everything as you refuse to read books and learn history. See, I just labeled you.
    ++++++++++++
    Right labels things which are true. The Left makes things up to fit their narrative and then labels them with racist names.

  34. I’ve gotta laugh at the commenters who like their leader attacked the players for kneeling are now complaining about people attacking a billionaire for backing said leader.

    Their leader is a racist and they either turn a blind eye, don’t care, or are one themselves.

  35. “Why can’t a private citizen support any candidate they want? ”

    They certainly can. And if the people who are customers of their business don’t want to support someone helping the vile rancid excuse of a human being in the white house the customers have that right as well.

  36. Is it Trumps words that get the left rattled or his policies. If no Trump what would have been the alternative. Lets say I wasn’t a Trump fan but after a couple of years watching and listening to what the Dems are up to I think you Americans have the better of the two choices. Film stars and football players need to worry about what they are paid to do and entertain us.

  37. 600,000 Americans died fighting fascism in WWII. The entire world recognized fascism as one of the most vile and evil philosophies in the history of the world and united against it. My father fought them in WWII and the only reason I was born is that when a 88mm shell landed 3′ from him it was luckily a dud.

    To see a sitting president openly embracing fascism and fascists and egging them on, goes against everything this country stands for, and makes me want to puke.

  38. Liberalsruineverything says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:52 pm
    tylawspick6 says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    How on earth people can live with themselves after voting for a descendant of HItler, I have no idea.
    ————————————

    If you read books like you say you would realize that Hltler was a socialist that believed in a centralized government that controlled everything. I don’t think you read at all.
    _____________

    I find it very disconcerting when you and I find agreement on a single subject.

  39. If you aren’t able to explain and understand the concerns of the other side, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Both sides are equally intolerant.

  40. it will be fair to ask Ross and the rest to identify the issues on which they disagree with the President and to feel free to express those opinions publicly.

    —————————————-

    I have little use for politics but this is getting ridiculous. The NFL is entertainment and should be kept as such. Bringing politics into the NFL is just a drag. As is bullying people into changing their views – which is what you’re encouraging above.

    There was once a time in our country where intelligent people considered religion and politics to be hands off in the public discussion department. It’s like letting two guys arm wrestle in a bar after drinking all night long. You’re just asking for trouble…

  41. I have 2 suggestions for Mr Stills and the NFLPA: 1.The most harmful thing for minorities is economics, not ideology. The reason minorities were enslaved is for economic benefit, not to express the white man’s superiority. Economic disparity enslaves the poor to benefit the rich. 2. Those you desire to replace Trump ultimately envision a system where Kenny Stills should be paid as a football player, not a wide receiver. In other words, the current capitalist system which pays you as a very rich man (not simply a rich man) is at the heart of the economic disparity currently oppressing millions. And finally, in a socialist world, you cannot not paid more because you are a better player, you must be paid the same because you are a player. Be careful for the change you demand. a true SJW advocates for taking billions away from silly capitalist ventures like football and directing them to worthwhile efforts such as healthcare and education.

  42. pkrlvr says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    I agree. I’ll never understand how a narcissist, sexist, racist, pathological lying, justice obstructing low browed man-child like Trump ever got elected.
    ————————————

    He was elected because of you. And will be re-elected because of you. I appreciate it and keep up the good work.

  43. Ross has been friends with Trump for over 40 years…. they agree on some things and they disagree on others. This is America. He can support whoever he wants. The nerve of some people.

  44. dadsource says:
    August 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm
    Imagine if conservatives took the “torches and pitchforks” mob approach to bully anyone who disagreed with them?

    ——

    proof that irony has no limit

  45. Its a moral compass thing….. You can’t start a non-profit to combat racial inequality on one hand, and hold a fundraiser for someone that fan the flames of white supremacy the other. You can, but you can’t blame someone for calling out the hypocrisy. Pick a side… And for all of you that say Stills should just “shut up and just catch the ball” you are close to that line of being a closet…. well you know…..

  46. Without expressing an opinion on this situation, I would like to point out that Related Companies only has a minority interest in Equinox/SoulCycle. There has been significant dilution from L Catterton (Private Equity group) and others since Ross made the purchase in 2005.

    I think that’s important information that should be shared before massive boycotts (and potential layoffs, etc).

    Source: Facts and public filings

  47. To see a sitting president openly embracing fascism and fascists and egging them on, goes against everything this country stands for, and makes me want to puke.

    You mean like antifa using violence to shut down speech they disagree with? Showing up at McConnels’s house to threaten him? Hitting people with bike locks?

    You – very plainly – have no idea of what fascism means. You support these actions by these people. You want to see a real fascist? Look in your mirror.

  48. I am laughing at all these folks who say “Trade him.” If Stills had said, “I agree with Donald Trump and my owner.” these same folks would be saying, “Stills has a right to support who he wants, like that Bosa kid out in San Francisco.” Please. It seems to me that the right gets just as butthurt over people who don’t agree with them as the left does.

  49. Imagine if conservatives took the “torches and pitchforks” mob
    approach to bully anyone who disagreed with them?
    Can’t, because we are at WORK…..

    No, they let those in uniform and horseback to rope lasso
    a troubled man of color and lead around like an animal.
    Of course, that only happens in between times they keep children in cages.
    What have we become?

  50. Of course Stephen Ross and all of these guys can do whatever they choose. But they deserve to be called out for it, too. This is the same man who appeared on CBS morning show to during the campaign to emphatically say that Trump would not make a good president. Now, here he is publicly supporting Trump’s efforts. I get it, Ross, Jones, Johnson, and the billionaire club only care about the tax cuts—which will transform the insanely wealthy into the obscenely wealthy. They don’t give a sh—t about the moral fabric of this country or even its national security. They care only about the bottom line as it pertains to their interests.

    Like I said, these guys have a right to do what they want. But this complete lack of integrity (which is also remarkably demonstrated by so-called “Christians” who support Trump) should be called out be anyone who’s been paying attention. And the billionaire boys club should have thick enough skin to take it—though I won’t hold my breath…

    And for all of you who are most upset because people like Kenny Stills and other (black) players are taking Ross to task, let’s be perfectly honest here: you don’t particularly care for black men. You “tolerate” them within the context of entertainment—in this case playing ball. But you don’t associate with black men outside of that (virtual) sphere. Go ahead and express your frustration with that last line.

    But you know it’s true.

  51. Imagine if conservatives took the “torches and pitchforks” mob
    approach to bully anyone who disagreed with them?
    Can’t, because we are at WORK…..

    Of course, everyone knows only conservatives actually work.

    So, they let those in uniform and horseback to rope lasso
    a troubled man of color and lead him around like an animal.
    Of course, that only happens in between times they’re keeping
    children in cages.

    What have we become?

  52. I agree. I’ll never understand how a narcissist, sexist, racist, pathological lying, justice obstructing low browed man-child like Trump ever got elected.

    =====================================================

    When the best you could give us was Hillary, that was an easy choice.

  53. Some of you seem to have missed the point.

    Stills isn’t questioning Ross’s fundraising for the president, he’s questioning how he can chair an organization dedicated to unifying in sports, while at the same time supporting a person who has made some extremely divisive comments about players (re: the Kapernick flag kneeling)
    It’s not the support he’s questioning, it’s the double standard of his actions

  54. This is ludicrous. Ross has the right to Support who he wants and if Stills don’t like it, play some where else, he gets paid a good salary

  55. My management can pick whatever candidate and support them how they want. If its a candidate that revolts me then thats a bummer but still, so be it. My country is a better place for them being free to do that than it would be if I was working to see them punished for not agreeing with me.

  56. ghostlight13 says:
    August 8, 2019 at 4:29 pm
    Some of you seem to have missed the point.

    Stills isn’t questioning Ross’s fundraising for the president, he’s questioning how he can chair an organization dedicated to unifying in sports, while at the same time supporting a person who has made some extremely divisive comments about players (re: the Kapernick flag kneeling)
    It’s not the support he’s questioning, it’s the double standard of his actions

    ——————-
    When people have differing opinions its not the opinions causing the divisiveness nor the people giving them causing divisiveness. The divisiveness comes from those that lack the maturity to hear opinions the differ from their own without raging over it.

  57. This is ludicrous. Ross has the right to Support who he wants and if Stills don’t like it, play some where else, he gets paid a good salary

    —-

    OR Ross has the right to support who he wants AND Stills has the right to criticize it.

    Thats called freedom for both guys.

  58. joker65 says:
    August 9, 2019 at 8:37 am
    This is ludicrous. Ross has the right to Support who he wants and if Stills don’t like it, play some where else, he gets paid a good salary

    —-

    OR Ross has the right to support who he wants AND Stills has the right to criticize it.

    Thats called freedom for both guys.

    ——————————
    That is true. Neither one has the right to stop the other from speaking their mind and if either doesn’t like it they have no legal recourse.

    But one of them does have the right to say, “I have this money I am willing to give you as long as you meet certain conditions in return” (that can include not making public statements on certain things or everything, its actually a common rule very few employers don’t have). We all have the right to say that to others as well, and its not an infringement of their rights, they are not being forced into curbing their speech they are instead choosing to accept payment in return for agreeing to curb their speech.

  59. Shouldn’t we all be able to criticize someone who has threatened the safety and security of this country with a childlike understanding of how macroeconomics, international diplomacy, and race relations work? He’s blundered through all three.

  60. POTUS used to own a pro football team. He’s made a lot of men who look like Stills wealthy. Ask Hershel Walker how he feels about the POTUS. Stills is misguided.

  61. joetoronto says:

    August 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    The left is all inclusive as long as you agree with them, otherwise they’ll bully you and attack you both verbally and physically, before complaining about bullying and attacks.
    _________________________________________________________________________________
    Finally, something we both agree on, good post and spot on.

  62. joetoronto says:

    August 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    The left is all inclusive as long as you agree with them, otherwise they’ll bully you and attack you both verbally and physically, before complaining about bullying and attacks.

    ———-

    The irony of your comment is amazing. I won’t try to explain, as I’m sure you have no interest in understanding.

  63. Richard Nguyen says:
    August 8, 2019 at 11:59 am
    Christ, players are going to dictate the politics of their employers now?

    ——————————–

    Sure. Owners should “stick to football”.

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