Stephen Ross: His Dolphins in Captivity

By: Jacob Walters

Remember the days of the brilliant Dan Marino? Granted, Marino never won the Super Bowl because his teams were just not good enough. Still, Marino captivated South Beach and NFL fans alike with his stellar play and his role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Einhorn is Finkle!). Fans yearn for those days as one sports owner has since held the Dolphins in captivity and mediocrity.

Born on May 10, 1940 in Detroit, Michigan, Ross is a real estate developer, philanthropist, and the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Ross has owned the Dolphins since 2008 and is known for developing the Time Warner Center. He has also created the Drone Racing League and owns SoulCycle and Equinox. With a net worth of $7.6 billion (November 2019), Ross has also made major contributions to his alma mater, the University of Michigan. With over $378 million in lifetime contributions to the university, Ross is the largest donor in Michigan’s history. Ross is also the chairman of The Related Companies, which specializes in real estate development.

While getting celebrities like Marc Anthony and Serena Williams to become minority owners of your team sounds nice, the product has not been as friendly. Miami has not had a quality quarterback since Marino left. Granted, this is not entirely Ross’s fault. However, the list is still damning. With the likes of Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, and even Jay Cutler’s careless play, the Dolphins have gone through quarterbacks like a hurricane. The Dolphins have gone through nine different quarterbacks and made the playoffs twice since 2008!

Look at Ross’s operations of the Dolphins. First, tickets for Miami-Washington in October 2019 sold for less than the price to get to the Miami Zoo. $23, in fact! You could see animals and mammals that will not disappoint you instead of watching a football team do that! The fans have responded by not showing up to the games, with the Dolphins-Chargers and Dolphins-Ravens games being perfect examples. Speaking of the Dolphins home…

Already taxed by the public funding issued for the new Marlins Park, Miami citizens had to deal with another greedy owner trying to fleece them. This time, it was Ross, who had his eyes on moving the Dolphins to Palm Beach if a new stadium was not built. The result was the current incarnation known as Hard Rock Stadium, which just got a $500 million commitment for a renovation to host the Super Bowl. As a result, Miami-Dade County pays the stadium up to $5.75 million annually, with the source being hotel taxes for attracting sell-out crowds to international soccer tournaments, college championships, and the like.

There are also some controversies involving Ross among the worse. Ross angered his SoulCycle and Equinox customers by throwing a lavish Trump fundraiser in the Hamptons. The fundraiser charged participants $100,000 just to pose with the president and $250,000 to listen to a roundtable discussion. This also caused discomfort with Dolphins players like Kenny Stills, who ‘agreed to disagree’ with Ross over the fundraiser. During the height of the Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversy, Ross issued a team policy that would suspend anyone up to four games if they did not stand for the national anthem. Ironically, Donald Trump called for NFL players to be fired if they knelt for the anthem. Fish of a feather…

Ross’s company, Related, is also doing business with Saudi Arabia. If you have heard about Saudi Arabia, known as a country that has low gender parity (141st out of 144 countries in this category) and would not allow women to enter buildings without their mahram (father or husband). With Saudi women being granted the right to obtain an education and health care on their own in 2017, it does not help Ross’s case as “Mr. Good Guy”.

The Miami Dolphins used to be proud NFL blueblood. From the perfect 1972 Dolphins to the lore of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Miami has plenty of history. However, the Stephen Ross tenure has done little to inspire any hope for a dynastic return. Therefore, if you want an owner who is the worst, place your vote with Stephen Ross.

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