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.