Miami Dolphins owner bans kneeling during national anthem, promptly takes it back

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PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Photo via Shutterstock
Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, says his players won’t be allowed to kneel for the national anthem during the 2018 season, even if it’s their constitutional right.

“All our players will be standing,” Ross told the New York Daily News on Monday.

Ross – an out-of-touch, 77-year-old Manhattan real-estate tycoon – told the paper that from the onset of the NFL national anthem kneeling protests in 2016, which was kick-started by Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in protest of racial injustice, he supported the athletes’ message. But that all changed, Ross admitted, when President Donald Trump hijacked the narrative this past fall, and when Ross felt the message evolved into a theme against “support of our country or the military.”



This was arguably one of the moments that spurred Ross' line of thinking:

“Initially, I totally supported the players in what they were doing,” Ross said. “It’s America and people should be able to really speak about their actions. When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling,” Ross reportedly said.

“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.”

At the time of the chat with Ross, he was reportedly at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, where Ross was honored by the Jackie Robinson Foundation with its Robie Lifetime Achievement Award for being a “longtime champion of equal opportunity.”

That fact comes as a knee-slapper in light of Ross’ blatant disregard for the First Amendment and equality in itself, and it didn’t take long for Ross to walk back all of the above following his comments on Monday evening.

“I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued,” Ross writes today.

“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. I know our players care about the military and law enforcement, too, because I’ve seen the same payers who are fighting for social justice engaging positively with law enforcement and the military. ..."

The Dolphins franchise hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000. The team also missed the playoffs in 2017 after finishing with a 6-10 record. So maybe kneeling during the national anthem isn’t the team’s biggest problem.

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