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Miami Dolphins Owner Vows No Anthem Protests Next Season: ‘All My Players Will Be Standing’

Stephen Ross initially supported the pre-game player protests

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross insists that the widespread protests of the national anthem during last year’s NFL season are a thing of the past — at least for his team next season.

“All of our players will be standing,” Ross told New York Daily News Monday night.

“Initially, I totally supported the players in what they were doing,” he said. “It’s America and people should be able to really speak about their choices.”

Ross changed his mind, however, when he felt that the sentiment of the protests shifted toward being against the country and the military.

“When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling,” he said Monday.

Ross also reiterated how he felt that President Donald Trump had influenced his thinking on the issue. “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,” Ross said. “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.”

According to Jim Trotter of ESPN, Ross walked back what he said to the Daily News, saying that he would not force the players to stand.

See Trotter’s tweets of Ross’s statement below:

The national anthem protests began in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who initially sat on the bench during a preseason game — started kneeling as a protest against racial injustice.

After that, a number of players have kneeled during the anthem, with the peak coming in Week 3 of the 2017 season, following comments by President Trump at a rally in Alabama and on Twitter where he implored owners to fire players who didn’t stand.