MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the 2019 Miami Dolphins took the field for the first time in a preseason game Thursday, CBS4 asked several fans about reports that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is hosting a major fundraiser for President Donald Trump in the Hamptons on Friday.
The responses were nearly universal.
“I just think politics don’t belong in football,” said Mike Holliday.
“I like to keep my sports and politics separate,” said Tony Griswold.
“Whatever people decide to do, let them do it,” said Alex Delancy. “I don’t think it’s a problem.”
A day earlier, Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills criticized Ross on social media, saying it was hypocritical of the owner to create an organization called ‘RISE,’ that works to eliminate racial discrimination, yet also support President Trump.
Some fans felt Stills should stick to football.
“The individual is getting paid by the person he’s opposing and going against,” said Michael Hough. “Doesn’t make good business sense.”
During the game broadcast on CBS4, Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel forcefully backed his boss describing what he does for the community.
“Stephen Ross is a good man. Stephen Ross has a big heart,” Garfinkel said. “There are a lot of social ills in our country right now, racism, social injustice, the decline of public education. These ills are not going to be solved. These problems are not going to be solved, by the angry mob on Twitter. They’re going to be fixed by people who address things with civility, with discourse.”
WATCH TOM GARFINKEL SPEAK ABOUT STEPHEN ROSS
Criticism of Ross continued on social media.
Some called for boycotts of companies he invests in like fitness centers Equinox and Soul Cycle.
Ross is also big in the world of food and Chef Jose Andres, who rents space from Ross, according to the Washington Post, went online to ask Ross to reconsider the fundraiser.
“I cannot be silent in these moments,” said Andres in a recorded video. “Please Steve. Do the right thing and don’t support this fundraising.”
Back in South Florida, many Dolphins fans say Ross is free to do what he wants.
“If we want to criticize our owner we can talk about how he’s put a terrible team on the field for the past infinite years since he’s been the owner, I’d like to see that change,” said Robyn, a Dolphins fan who declined to provide her last name. “As far as him hosting a party, everyone is entitled to who they want to vote for. That’s what makes America the greatest country in the world.”
In a statement Wednesday, Ross defended the fundraiser saying he agrees with Trump on some things and disagrees with him on others.
He said he is an outspoken champion of racial equality, diversity and other important issues.
The Washington Post reports that the fundraiser is high dollar. A fee of $100,000 gets an attendee a photo with Trump, while a fee of $250,000 gets them access to a roundtable discussion.