Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross on anthem protests: ‘All our players will be standing’
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says comments about his players being required to stand next season when the national anthem is played before games were misconstrued.
"All of our players will be standing," Ross told the New York Daily News on Monday.
Three players, wide receiver Kenny Stills, tight end Julius Thomas and safety Michael Thomas, kneeled during the national anthem to protest social injustices last season.
"Initially, I totally supported the players in what they were doing," said Ross. "It's America and people should be able to really speak about their choices."
But on Tuesday, Ross refuted the New York Daily News story.
“I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued,’’ Ross said in a statement to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I’ve shared my opinion with all our players: I’m passionate about the cause of social justice and I feel that kneeling is an ineffective tactic that alienates more people than it enlists.
Ross says he changed his mind believing the kneeling was being perceived as a protest against “support of our country or the military.”
President Donald Trump had called for players to be fired for kneeling during the anthem, leading to a league–wide protest during Week 3 where almost 200 players refused to participate in the anthem.
"When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it 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."