Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross emphatically told reporters Monday that every player on his team for the upcoming season will stand during the national anthem.
“All of our players will be standing,” Ross told the New York Daily News.
The comments were made, somewhat ironically, as Ross was accepting an award from the Jackie Robinson Foundation for being a “longtime champion of equal opportunity.”
When speaking to the Daily News, he said:
“When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling. 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.”
Originally, Ross did not have a problem with players protesting during the anthem. But, he said his mind changed when he realized the disrespect to the country’s military men and women that this caused.
Dolphins players’ Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas all knelt last year. Of those three, Stills is the only one set to be on the roster by the start of the 2018 season.
The Dolphins are not the only team making waves on the anti-protesting front. According to Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle, a couple of agents told him that the Houston Texans were not interested in signing free agents that would kneel during the anthem.
Texans owner Bob McNair has been no stranger to expressing his opinion on the issue. At the owners meeting back in October, he said that, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.”
One of McNair’s biggest critics was offensive lineman Duane Brown and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Brown was traded before the deadline. Hopkins skipped practice immediately following the controversial comments.
Only time will tell if more owners will follow Ross and McNair’s decision and if the league will change its policy.