In what ultimately may be a distinction without much of a difference, the Dolphins have issued a statement claiming that owner Stephen Ross was not removed from a social justice working group, but that he chose to leave it on his own.
“Stephen made the decision last week and informed the NFL and members of the working committee that he was going to step aside from the group and continue to focus his efforts at RISE,” a Dolphins spokesperson said, referring to the foundation established by Ross to promote social justice and racial equality in sports. “He believes in and is still fully committed to the work that has been done by the group and will always be a passionate supporter and tireless advocate for social justice causes, the fight for equal rights and education.”
Earlier in the day, former NFL defensive end Chris Long said that “we just removed, or got Stephen Ross to be off the working group.”
It sounds like Ross was basically given the choice to quit or be fired, and he chose the former. Obviously, it wouldn’t have happened but for his recent foray into big-money partisan politics.
“He held a fundraiser for a guy who called protesting players ‘sons of bitches’ [and] campaigned for them to lose jobs,” Long said on Twitter. “The working group is directly involved. You can see how that’s a conflict of interest that transcends politics.”
The problem is that, when it comes to modern-day politics, people see only what meshes with their broader world view. So just as many will see what Long, the reigning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, is saying as will tell him to “stick to sports.”
Even though this is a direct extension of sports.