Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross may have shared some comments publicly that could end up helping Colin Kaepernick grievance suit that claimed the NFL’s owners colluded to keep him from being signed to a team after taking a knee during the National Anthem in protest against police brutality.
According to the NY Daily News, Ross recently admitted that President Donald Trump’s public criticism of NFL players choosing to kneel had an influence on his decision-making involving how he would handle his own team’s players protesting.
In this Sept. 20, 2015, file photo, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, second from left,, stands on the sideline during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla. Ross said, in a statement released by the Dolphins on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, that he won’t force his players to stand for the national anthem, even though he believes kneeling is an ineffective way to promote social justice. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
“All of our players will be standing ”, Ross told the Daily before explaining how he initially supported players choosing to kneel in protest of social injustice. He said he had a change of heart on how he felt about kneeling after Trump’s scathing tweets changed the narrative on how the public viewed kneeling.
“When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling,” Ross told the Daily. “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.”
Trump said during a speech last September, near the start of the NFL’s 2017 season, that players who protested during the anthem were disrespecting the U.S. flag and military, and should be fired. He admitted months earlier in March 2017 how he was aware of his potential influence over NFL ownership.
“There was an article today that was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that,” Trump said during a speech in Kentucky.
According to reports, Ross was quickly added to the list of owners to be deposed by Kaepernick’s attorney following his comments about Trump. He’s since backpedaled on his stance that all his players will be standing next season.
“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 released to the media. “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.”