Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross, a one-time supporter of the NFL’s national anthem protests, admits that he changed his mind and began to oppose them after President Trump spoke out.
“I was totally supportive of [the players] until Trump made his statement. I thought he changed the dialogue,” Ross recently told The Wall Street Journal about Trump’s comments on the anthem protest issue.
Ross seems to be referring to the Alabama rally the president attended in September of 2017 where he slammed the NFL owners for standing idly by while players protested against the country during the playing of the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say: ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired,'” Trump said at the time.
Ross, who opposed Trump’s candidacy for president and has always been what one might call a mild never-Trumper, seems unaware that a huge backlash against the anti-American protests had already begun long before President Trump made mention of the issue.
Breitbart News reported on that backlash for many months before Trump’s September pronouncements. Indeed there were signs of the displeasure among fans as soon as Kaepernick began his protests at the start of the 2016 season. In the weeks after the former 49er QB started taking a knee, for instance, fans were seen on Youtube burning their NFL gear. Soon after, the NFL’s TV ratings began to crash.
Contrary to the liberal bubble in which Dolphins owner Stephen Ross seems to live, many Americans were quite against the protests from the start. President Donald Trump did not create the backlash. He only reflected the opposition that had already begun.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.