Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has stepped down from the NFL's social justice committee, the team announced Tuesday.
"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," a Dolphins spokesman 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."
The committee includes players and team owners and is intended to address social justice issues. Last season, members of the committee included Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman.
Ross, who was a founding member of the social justice committee, has drawn criticism for hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump earlier this month. Ross is also the chief executive of RISE, a nonprofit whose mission statement says it aims to "eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations."
Former NFL defensive end Chris Long initially addressed Ross' departure from the group in an interview with Sports Illustrated. He then expanded on the reasoning in a pair of tweets Tuesday evening.
Just read every mention here and they're all pretty shortsighted. We've worked w a number of owners who lean conservative and have even supported trump in the past. However (and I have no idea why I'm explaining this because you'll never concede the point).....— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 20, 2019
He held a fundraiser for a guy who called protesting players "sons of bitches" + campaigned for them to lose jobs. The working group is directly involved. You can see how that's a conflict of interest that transcends politics. I respect SR's work w RISE. Don't get it? Can't help.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 20, 2019
Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills initially called out Ross in a tweet Aug. 7, saying, "Someone has to have enough courage to let [Ross] know he can't play both sides of this." He said last week that he had spoken with Ross and that they have "agreed to disagree."
Following Stills' tweet, Ross issued a statement saying he has been friends with Trump for 40 years and that while they agree on some things, "we strongly disagree on many others" and that he has never been "bashful" about expressing his opinions to the president.