Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross issued a statement today walking back comments he made in New York yesterday saying that next season his team will not be permitted to kneel and will be required to stand for the National Anthem.
Now he says, “I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued.” In a statement released Tuesday Ross said he regretted his comments in New York were misconstrued. He said he’s passionate about social justice, but believes kneeling during the anthem is an ineffective tactic that alienates more people than it enlists.
“I care passionately that the message of social justice resonates far and wide and I will continue to support and fund efforts for those who fight for equality for all,” said Ross.
Yesterday, Ross told the “New York Daily News” that he initially supported the players’ right to kneel in protest of racial inequality.
“All of our players will be standing,” Ross told the New York Daily News on Monday.
The 77-year-old Detroit native initially supported kneeling early last season, stating “it’s America and people should be able to really speak about their choices.”
However, in October, the Dolphins asked players who planned to kneel to remain in the locker room for the anthem.
Coach Adam Gase then reversed course and allowed players to kneel on the sideline in November for the remainder of the season.
Ross said he changed his mind because kneeling was being perceived by the public as a protest against the United States or the military.
“When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting [kneeling] as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling,” said Ross. “I like Donald (Trump). 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.”
Only a handful actually took a knee during the anthem.
Ross was in New York yesterday to be honored by the Jackie Robinson Foundation with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
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