Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is no longer on the NFL's social justice committee, just weeks after facing criticism from the media, and one of his own players, for supporting President Donald Trump while leading social justice efforts, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
There are conflicting accounts about Ross' departure from the committee. Ross, through a team spokesperson, said he voluntarily stepped down.
"Stephen made the decision last week and informed the NFL and members of the working committee that he was going to step aside from the group and continue to focus his efforts on RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality)," the spokesperson said. "He believes in and is still fully committed to the work that has been done by the group and will always be a passionate supporter and tireless advocate for social justice causes, the fight for equal rights and education."
Former NFL player Chris Long, a member of The Players Coalition, said that Ross left the committee as a result from pressure by players, but said it was not simply because he's conservative. Instead, it was specifically related to President Trump's previous comments about NFL players.
@ProFootballTalk He held a fundraiser for a guy who called protesting players “sons of bitches” + campaigned for th… https://t.co/HLMlmEesHe— Chris Long (@Chris Long)1566338852.0
"He held a fundraiser for a guy who called protesting players 'sons of bitches' + campaigned for them to lose jobs," Long wrote on Twitter. "The working group is directly involved. You can see how that's a conflict of interest that transcends politics. I respect [Ross'] work w RISE. Don't get it? Can't help."
Ross has been friends with Trump for decades, but it became an issue for players after Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills tweeted about Ross's fundraiser for Trump.
"You can't have a nonprofit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump," Stills wrote.
🤔 You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump. https://t.co/sNBWfEXvLn https://t.co/nNkRf2wJep— Kenny Stills (@Kenny Stills)1565189033.0