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.
Dolphins new policy threatens to suspend players for anthem protests
We already know that the NFL has enacted a new national anthem policy being left up to teams to enforce and it has caused controversy. Well, now the Dolphins have taken that to a new level by threatening to suspend players next season for protesting on the field during the anthem.
Details of @MiamiDolphins anthem policy from @AP_RobMaaddi: Anthem conduct one point under "conduct detrimental to the club." NFL rule forbids players from kneeling or sitting during anthem on the field. Up to clubs to punish players directly. https://t.co/BQYHcGiwqG
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) July 19, 2018
In a section titled “Proper Anthem Conduct,” there is a sentence dealing with anthem protests under a large list of “conduct detrimental to the club” acts. All of which, could lead to a paid or unpaid suspension or both. This is according to an anonymous team source familiar, who provided the policy to the AP.
The new NFL policy voted in by the owners in May allows teams to discipline players for anthem protesting, while on the field. The policy does allow for players who are objecting to the anthem to remain in the locker room, if they so choose.
The NFL declined comment, when the Associated Press reached them about the leaking of the Dolphins team policy. Dolphins officials also had no comment to the Associated Press on Thursday afternoon
Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, and former safety Michael Thomas and former tight end Julius Thomas are shown above kneeling during the anthem in a game in November of last season.
Thursday’s leaking of the policy is the latest in the national anthem Saga for Miami, where owner Stephen Ross defended players protesting the anthem, previously.
However, earlier this year, Ross made comments at a New York event where he was being honored, suggesting he wanted the anthem protests to be over with, and even hinted then that there could be punishment down the road.
Ross quickly backpedaled and clarified those comments the next day after a firestorm of controversy that started.
ESPN NFL reporter Jeff Darlington, who is formerly a Dolphins media member, reported Thursday evening that the policy submitted to the league and to be given to the players isn’t a “this for that” definite suspension threat:
Dolphins submitted the same discipline schedule that all other teams will also submit, outlining what could be considered conduct detrimental to the club. It declares vague maximums. I’m told this is NOT a public declaration of intentions to suspend for protests during anthem.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) July 19, 2018
However, the Fins clearly have anthem protests spelled out as a punishable offense, according the AP, which has seen it.
The interesting dynamic is that the teams themselves are being left to impose penalties, as they see fit and not the league doing so with a black and white policy that lays out specific punishment.
Dolphins cornerstone player for 2018?
It’s a pivotal year for the Dolphins, their head coach Adam Gase, their front office of Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier, and most importantly, QB Ryan Tannehill.
Miami is certainly taking a risk bringing back Tannehill off of missing all of 2017 with re-injury to his ACL. A risk, because they didn’t elect to make a play for a “quarterback of the future” in this year’s draft. This despite flirting heavily with the likes of Baker Mayfiled, and a player like Lamar Jackson being readily available for them, when they drafted at #11.
And, the Fins dealt away Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry for not much in return, because they didn’t want to pay him huge dollars. And then, with getting rid of fellow Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to save on the salary cap, the clear star or leader remaining is Tannehill.
And Tannenbaum, Grier and Gase are banking that he will be back to his 2016 pre-injury play of 2016 that put the Dolphins in position to make the playoffs.
Gase has made it no secret that they have made their decision and have built around Tannehill. As we wrote about early last month, the third year coach has repeatedly backed his QB, who’s about to play for his sixth season. Gase saying to SI.com’s Albert Breer last month:
“Just being around him (Tannehill), this being my third year, the guy competes as hard as anyone I’ve been around, especially at that position. And it’s a good feeling as a coach when we’ve got him back out there.”
And they hope to have at the level where he was, when he injured the knee in the week 14 home game with Arizona two years ago. Through 13 games, he had his highest completion percentage (67.5%), yards per attempt (7.7) and quarterback rating (93.5).
There are new veteran faces on offense like RB Frank Gore, and WR Danny Amendola, who both have years of winning and post season experience to bring to the huddle.
Still, in most NFL locker rooms, the QB is the “face of the franchise,” the leader and the one most scrutinized.
And Ryan Tannehill will be that for this fall.
He’s the foundation, for at least the start of this year, that Miami will try to build their fortunes.
Dolphins moving eventually to new facility near Hard Rock Stadium?
It’s not as earth shattering as a huge free agent signing or hosting a playoff game, but the fact that the Dolphins are close to moving locations from their current training complex in Davie to a more convenient one next to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is a big deal.
— Miami Herald Sports (@HeraldSports) July 14, 2018
From the Herald’s item, there is definitely some competitive interest in luring the Dolphins away:
Miami Gardens might defray the cost of security in and around Hard Rock Stadium to help seal the deal, and Miami-Dade County could amend the existing stadium renovation agreement that pays the Dolphins a bonus for hosting major events.
“Twenty-five years ago, the Dolphins moved their football headquarters from North Dade to Davie, and I’ve wanted them back ever since,” Miami Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan said. “When I heard Mr. Ross was considering a new $50 million practice facility in Broward, I knew we had to have a conversation about bringing this massive private investment to Miami-Dade. To me, it’s a perfect fit for our community and will bring a lot of economic activity to Miami-Dade.”
Added Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert: “From Top Golf to the Super Bowl, Miami Gardens has become a destination for world-class entertainment, and venues that attract visitors on a consistent basis are a critical component of economic development. Between the Miami Open and Miami Dolphins training camp, we can generate $100 million-plus in privately funded construction, hundreds of good-paying jobs, a significant boost to our tax base and new opportunities for residents to live, work and play. It would be great to bring the Miami Dolphins training facility back home to the 305.”
So, clearly there’s some “wooing” going on, and if Fins owner Stephen Ross is going to privately fund the new facility to the tune of at least $50 and maybe as high as, $75 million, then there is ample reason to try to lure them. Ross has already put over $500 million of his own money into a three year renovation of Hard Rock Stadium.
The Dolphins training adjacent to the stadium where they play or in the same complex area, is not uncommon. In the cases of Florida’s other two NFL teams: the Jaguars train adjacent to TIAA Bank Field, and the Bucs complex is across the street from Raymond James Stadium.
And, there are other examples of the Bengals, the Texans, and the Patriots who train either next to or in the same complex as where they play on Sundays.
The reality is that the new facility will not be ready for at least another two seasons, no matter where it’s located. Still, the convenience and new design will also be an asset for the Dolphins to attract players, too.
Now it’s up to the franchise to decide where and how soon, they want to build.
Jacksonville Jaguars1 week ago
Jaguars DT Marcell Dareus involved in two sexual assault allegations
Tampa Bay Buccaneers2 weeks ago
Hall of Fame WR Randy mentoring Bucs QB Jameis Winston in Tampa
Jacksonville Jaguars1 week ago
Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?
UCF Knights1 week ago
Groundwork laid for UCF QB McKenzie Milton to be part of AAF Spring league?