One thing is for sure, being a billionaire owner in pro football doesn’t exempt you from “stepping in your own ‘you know what'” from time to time, and Dolphins owner Steven Ross is the latest example.
He spoke his mind one night and was back-peddling like his own DB Cordrea Tankersley on Tuesday.
First, Monday night in comments to the New York Daily News while being honored by the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Ross spoke with candor on the subject of anthem protests and where he believes the issue stands with his Dolphins franchise:
“Initially, I totally supported the players in what they were doing,” Ross told the Daily News. “It’s America and people should be able to really speak about their choices.”
However, Ross told the paper that when it became more of a direct protest at President Donald Trump’s comments about them and also obvious, that it was insulting a great many active and former military and their families to have kneeling during the anthem, he wants to move on.
Ross continued to the paper, “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.”
The financial reality for Ross, which owners and the NFL are taking a hit on, is real. He expressed his real feelings.
Well, it didn’t take long for the internet to go crazy and Miami Sportsradio and even national tv talking heads to pick up the comments and re-ignite everything negative that the NFL doesn’t want with the issue.
So, predictably, Ross reversed course in a prepared team statement mid-morning Tuesday:
Stephen Ross statement in full now released to media… pic.twitter.com/CJWQCf1DgU
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) March 6, 2018
Did the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell call Ross up? Did they have to?
We know previously that owners like the Texans Bob McNair bumbled the discussion, when last season he used a mixed analogy about the players’ anthem protests with an “the inmates running the prison” comment. That caused dissension within his own locker room with star WR DeAndre Hopkins threatening to not play their game that weekend until McNair met with players and tried to apologize.
Also in October, flamboyant powerful Cowboys owner Jerry Jones briefly threatened his team with their jobs, if they continued to kneel for the anthem, but later in the week, he backed off.
Both situations eventually blew over.
This situation is in the off season, and likely will, as well.
Still, Ross’ statements against and then switching course to still allow the anthem protests in less than one day, only reinforces that the owners still don’t know what to do. Or more specifically, how to handle/articulate the issue without causing more problems.
Sometimes, you are just smarter to say nothing, especially, if you can’t or won’t stand by what you originally said or want to do.
A fumble, indeed.
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