Dolphins owner Stephen Ross may have just ruined any chance his team had of following up a miracle Super Bowl-title run with a trip to the White House.
Ross, who has publicly supported Dolphins players who have knelt for the national anthem in an effort to bring awareness to what they see as social injustice, criticized President Trump on Saturday for suggesting such players should be fired.
“Our country needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness,’ Ross wrote in a statement released by the team. “We need to seek to understand each other and have civil discourse instead of condemnation and sound bites.
“I know our players who kneeled for the anthem and these are smart young men of character who want to make our world a better place for everyone. They wanted to start a conversation and are making a difference in our community, including working with law enforcement to bring people together.
“We all can benefit from learning, listening and respecting each other. Sports is a common denominator in our world. We all have the responsibility to use this platform to promote understanding, respect and equality.’’
Ross’s comments came a day after Trump said during a campaign rally in Alabama that NFL players should not be allowed to “disrespect’’ the American flag by kneeling or sitting during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired!’’ Trump said.
“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.’’
Ross joined 49ers owner Jed York and Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch in condemning Trump’s comments, all three saying they were proud of their players for using their platform in an effort to forge societal changes.
Commissioner Roger Goodell took on Trump as well for his comments, saying they “demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all our players.”
It has become customary for the professional sports teams to be invited to the White House to meet the President after they have won a championship, but upon hearing that Steph Curry of the NBA’s Golden State Warrriors was considering not accepting his White House invitation, Trump publicly rescinded it.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017