Two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long revealed that the Players Coalition recently removed Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross from the organization’s social justice working group. The push to remove Ross from the committee, which is comprised of both players and owners, came after news broke that he was hosting a fundraiser for President Trump's reelection campaign.
After Long revealed that Ross had been removed, the Dolphins formally announced that Ross made the decision "to step aside" from the committee.
"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. "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."
Long had told SI Now about Ross's removal on Tuesday. Long was defending the Players Coalition after Panthers safety Eric Reid called the group out for a lack of action.
"The one thing I really disagree with Eric on is that the Coalition hasn't done anything," Long said. "The coalition is autonomous. We don't work for the owners. In fact, we just got Steven Ross to agree to be off of our working group. We can make decisions like that."
Long came under fire for supporting the Coalition's decision to remove Ross from the group and took to Twitter to respond.
"Just read every mention here and they’re all pretty shortsighted," Long tweeted. "We’ve worked w a number of owners who lean conservative and have even supported trump in the past. However (and I have no idea why I’m explaining this because you’ll never concede the point).....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."
Reid tweeted last week that the NFL's announcement of its partnership with Jay-Z was "interesting timing" considering it came "on the heels of Stephen Ross' fundraiser for Donald Trump and the backlash his other companies are getting because of it."
Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills was also critical of Ross, saying he can't "play both sides of this," as an NFL owner and member of the Players Coalition, which is intended to address social justice issues, and supporter of President Trump, who has been highly critical of players, like Colin Kaepernick, who have used their platform as football players to make public statements regarding politics or inequality.
Ross issued a statement in response, saying he has been friends with Trump for 40 years and that he has never been "bashful" about expressing his opinions to the president even when they disagree.