Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross has stepped down from his position with the NFL social justice committee on Tuesday, according to an official team announcement.
Ross, a founding member of the committee and the chief executive of RISE, has been heavily criticized for hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump earlier in August, which drew the ire of Dolphins’ wide receiver Kenny Stills, who spoke out publicly.
RISE is a nonprofit whose mission statement says it aims to “eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.”
“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 on RISE,” a Dolphins spokesman said (h/t ESPN). “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.”
Former NFL defensive lineman Chris Long spoke to Sports Illustrated and elaborated on why Ross’ supporting of Trump was problematic.
“The one thing I really disagree with Eric on is that the coalition hasn’t done anything. The coalition is autonomous. We don’t work with the owners. In fact we just removed, or got Stephen Ross to be off the working group,” Long said, in the interview.
Long also sent out the following tweet:
He held a fundraiser for a guy who called protesting players “sons of bitches” + campaigned for them to lose jobs. The working group is directly involved. You can see how that’s a conflict of interest that transcends politics. I respect SR’s work w RISE. Don’t get it? Can’t help.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 20, 2019