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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has a new mission that goes beyond football. He’s hoping to help end bullying.
The real estate mogul launched his “RISE” campaign, which stands for Ross Initiative of Sports for Equality, in a broad interview on CBS This Morning Friday.
“It’s kind of unprecedented in using sports to create change,” he said. “Sports is the common denominator in the country if not the world.”
In a public service announcement to promote the campaign, NFL players like Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill proclaim, “I pledge to treat everyone with respect and dignity” as Rihanna’s song “Rise Up” plays in the background.
Ross acknowledged the bullying scandal that rocked his own organization two years ago, when now-former Miami Dolphin Jonathan Martin accused teammate Richie Incognito of bullying him to the point of causing emotional distress.
In the aftermath of Martin’s departure from the team, it was revealed Incognito used racial slurs, including some specifically directed at Martin.
But Ross said the problem goes well beyond sports.
“If there’s any place in society that there’s equality, it’s in sports. It’s really the country that has the problem,” he said. “But (we’re) using sports to create change and bringing all the leagues together.”
On the topic of the recent firing of Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin, Ross said it was one of the toughest decisions he’s ever had to make.
“He’s a good man, but the team wasn’t performing,” Ross explained. “Football is very objective. You measure in wins and losses. And the team wasn’t performing this year what we thought it would. We spent a lot of money. After four games there wasn’t any real improvement. You don’t want to waste a year.”
He still said he’s optimistic for the rest of the season.
When the conversation turned to politics, Ross assured he’s is not endorsing his friend and fellow real estate tycoon Donald Trump in his run for the White House.
“Donald is the world’s best promoter. No question about it. But I don’t think he’s in a position to run the United States of America,” he said.
The wide-ranging interview ended with host Charlie Rose asking “Are you optimistic about the economy?”
Ross responded simply, “No.”