Sports | March 7, 2018 10:06 am

Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Denies National Anthem Comments 

He claims he did not say "all of our players will be standing" for the national anthem.

stephen ross
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross looks on prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross denied a report that his players would be forced to stand during the national anthem, instead of kneeling in protest of social injustice and police brutality. In a statement to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Ross said that he had no intention of forcing his players to stand during the anthem and he regrets that his comments have been “misconstrued.” He said he has already shared his opinions with his players, which is that he’s “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 players who are fighting for social justice engaging positively with law enforcement and the military,” he said in the statement, according to The Washington Post. “I care passionately that the message of social justice resonates far and wide and I will continue to support and fund efforts for those who fight for equality for all.”

This statement is a response to a New York Daily News article quoting him as saying “All of our players will be standing” at an event in which he received the ROBIE Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Ross and Dolphins coach Adam Gase made a standing rule in October, but Gase allowed players to stay in the locker room if they did not want to stand, reports The Post. Julius Thomas, Michael Thomas and Kenny stills did do that. Ross said he supported the original message of the protests, but when the message changed from social injustice to being seen as respect for the military and the flag, Ross said he was against kneeling under that interpretation.