Miami Dolphins

Athletes, sports leagues team up with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to fight racism

Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross, who unveiled the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, to fight against racism.
Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross, who unveiled the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, to fight against racism. Miami Herald File Photo

Stars from around the world of sports have joined Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' ambitious new program to combat racism.

The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) on Saturday formally launched its nationwide campaign — with sports A-listers like LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Larry Fitzgerald already pledging their support.

Many will appear in televised public service announcements, with the hope that their star power will help promote “understanding, respect and equality,’’ the nonprofit said in a press release.

“Sport brings together athletes, coaches and fans of all races, uniting us with shared experiences and common goals that transcend our differences. If there is any place where real equality can be found, it’s in sports," said Ross, who appeared on ESPN Saturday morning to promote the program.

"The sports community is uniquely positioned and empowered to help drive national discussion and action to unite our country, promote understanding, respect and equality and advance race relations now and for the next generation," Ross added. "While it would be unrealistic to say that RISE alone will end racism, we have the opportunity to harness the unifying power of sport and create a new paradigm."

RISE said its alliance is "unprecedented;" Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and the NCAA are among the leagues named as supporters. Locally, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and wide receiver Greg Jennings have signed on.

CBS Sports, NBC Sports Group and Turner Sports have also pledged resources to the cause.

RISE has launched a website, RISEtoWIN.org, that allows visitors to take a pledge to stand up to racism, treat one another with respect and to call out discrimination. Town halls and a social media campaign are also planned.

Furthermore, the initiative will provide resources and to develop curricula for youth teams “to help athletes, coaches, parents and professionals identify, resolve and prevent racially-insensitive behaviors and situations."

Said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: "We want to use our shared passion for sport to champion equality and respect for all."

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