The Sports Report: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross can’t have it both ways

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
(Lynne Sladky / AP)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and let’s get right to the news.


Times sports columnist LZ Granderson takes a look at an important story:

“Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is under fire for hosting a $250,000 a plate fundraiser for President Trump. Someone close to Ross, who also has a financial stake in Equinox as well as SoulCycle, came to the owner’s defense, telling the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “They agree on some things and disagree on others, specifically on the rhetoric around race,” adding, “with regards to race, Stephen’s record on fighting racism speaks for itself. It is possible to support someone on the basis of some things, and not agree with everything about them.”


“The statement reminds me of that hate the sin/love the sinner mumbo-jumbo some in religious communities use to try to justify homophobia, as if one’s sexual orientation was restricted to the bedroom.

“Ross may not be a racist, but where he has chosen to draw his line is different from where his star wideout Kenny Stills drew his.

“You can’t have a non-profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” Stills wrote on Twitter with a screenshot from the website RISE to Win, a nonprofit created by Ross that prides itself on “harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations.”

“Ross is not the only NFL owner who purports to be a fighter for social justice while buddying up to with the man who called some NFL players sons of bitches for protesting police brutality (insert Robert Kraft/Meek Mill joke here). The reality is many people in power play both sides, be they billionaires like Ross and Kraft or the politicians who seek their contributions. At the end of the day, it’s all about where the rich white men who own teams full of black and brown men choose to draw their line.

“Though if we’re being honest the color that matters most in this scenario is green.

“The irony in all of this is that clearly the source who came to Ross’ defense thought they were distancing the owner from racism, but in doing so, painted a perfect picture of how Ross and others like him enjoy the benefits of white privilege.

“Minorities do not have the luxury of compartmentalizing the effects of racism because it is woven into virtually every aspect of American life. From redlining by mortgage lenders and the calculative manner in which early-voting restrictions are applied to police brutality and discrimination against natural black hair, it must be nice to live in a world where race is viewed as a card to be played and not a scarlet letter to be endured.


“That isn’t to suggest things haven’t changed because they have. But just this week the Galveston Police Department in Texas had to apologize after pictures of white police officers on horseback leading a handcuffed black man by a rope began circulating.

“Officers showed poor judgment in this instance,” Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said.

“Well, that’s one way of putting it.

“The point is Ross has every right to host a fundraiser for Trump. But he doesn’t get to side step the negativity attached to it because he thinks playing both sides gives him cover.

“When you draw a line you have to own it. If you don’t like the light that line puts you in, redraw it.

“If you don’t think that’s fair, get in line behind Colin Kaepernick, whose line cost him his career.


We had an early deadline Wednesday and neglected to mention this important story for Galaxy and LAFC fans, written by Kevin Baxter:


“It took a little longer than expected and it was a lot more complicated than anticipated, but the Galaxy and LAFC both landed the young South American players they were looking for Wednesday, just hours before the close of the MLS secondary transfer window.

“The Galaxy added attacker Cristian Pavon, a 23-year-old World Cup veteran, on loan from Argentine club Boca Juniors while LAFC purchased teenage winger Brian Rodriguez from Uruguay’s Penarol. Both players still must complete visa and international transfer certificate paperwork, which could keep them from playing this weekend.

“The Galaxy’s pursuit of Pavon lasted months and often tested the patience of general manager Dennis te Kloese, who appeared to be near an agreement several times only to see the goalposts move. The broad outlines of the deal have been known for some time: a free loan with a first-year salary funded with targeted allocation money (TAM) through the end of this season and an option to extend the loan for next season.

“The Galaxy would then have an option to buy Pavon’s rights from Boca Juniors after the 2020 season, although the cost is reported to be exorbitant with The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio reporting the price at an MLS-record $20 million.

“The particulars are important because the Galaxy, who don’t have an open designated-player spot, are limited in what they can pay Pavon this year. Just to fund the deal for the rest of 2019, the team had to raise $386,000 in TAM by sending midfielder Ema Boateng to D.C. United and trading $200,000 in general allocation money to Orlando City.

“But the DP contracts of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romain Alessandrini expire at the end of the year, giving Te Kloese salary flexibility going forward. The Galaxy, and especially coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, are convinced Pavon — once on the radar of European clubs such as Roma and Arsenal — will be well worth whatever headaches it took to get him here.


“Schelotto coached Pavon at Boca Juniors, for which he scored 21 goals and had 24 assists in 80 games in the Argentine first division. However Pavon has fallen out of favor with the club and is counting on a reunion with his former coach to get his career back on track.

“Schelotto and the struggling Galaxy, who have lost nine of their last 14 to drop to fifth in the Western Conference standings, hope Pavon can energize an offense that is 21st in the 24-team MLS in goals. An excellent passer who can also play in the middle, Pavon will be counted on to get the ball to Ibrahimovic before becoming the focus of the attack next year.

“For LAFC, the deal to acquire Rodriguez, 19, follows equally complicated negotiations that included an agreement to play a 2020 friendly with Penarol as well as an exchange of coaching, academy and player resources. Details of the signing were not released and it was not announced until an hour after the team sold forward Christian Ramirez to the Houston Dynamo for as much as $325,000 in allocation money.

“Rodriguez had one goal and four assists in nine league games in Uruguay this season and also started five of the six group-stage matches in the Copa Libertadores, picking up three assists.

“The addition of Rodriguez makes the league’s best team even better, but its real value could come later if Diego Rossi, who joined LAFC from Penarol as a teenager last season, leaves for Europe. Sky Italia said this week that Serie A club Fiorentina is preparing a $17-million offer for the player, although an LAFC executive questioned that report, saying it’s unlikely Rossi will leave during the current European transfer period.



HBO got a lot of good footage for its “Hard Knocks” TV show Thursday when the Rams and Raiders got a little physical with each other. Gary Klein explains,

“It happened, perhaps, because it was the second day of practice between the Rams and the Oakland Raiders. Or maybe the Raiders offense simply did not want to be pushed around two days in a row.

“Of course, with cameras for HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series on site, any opportunity for drama was welcome. So no one got too angry Thursday after punches were thrown during a brief mini-brawl between the Raiders offense and Rams defense.

“A little bit of pushing and shoving never hurt nobody,” Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald said.

“Rams coach Sean McVay agreed.

“What I love was the fact that our guys were able to regather themselves,” he said. “We had a poise and composure about ourselves in terms of being able to finish out the practice.

“A credit to both teams to be able to do that because, you see when things get chippy early on, sometimes you end up having to cancel those practices.”


“McVay and his players said they got valuable work during joint practices last week with the Chargers and this week with the Raiders.

“The four workouts served as what will qualify for established starters as their most intense preparation for the season. Those players will be held out of the preseason opener Saturday against the Raiders, and preseason games against the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.”

Sports poll

Which team has the best 1-2-3 rotation in baseball? Is it Houston, with Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole; Washington with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin; the Dodgers with Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler or some other team? Vote by clicking here.

Odds and ends

Dodgers’ Corey Seager turns irritation into motivation as he tries to reclaim form…. Chip Kelly says Washington blocked Colson Yankoff’s bid for immediate eligibility…. Angels are no match for Chris Sale in loss to Red Sox…. USC cornerback Olaijah Griffin has a spring in his step after surgery on both shoulders…. NFL preseason: Patriots rout Lions thanks to backups; Daniel Jones throws TD in only series, Giants beat Jets…. College football: Will fresh starts for Les Miles and Mack Brown revive their careers?…. Santa Anita will keep signature furlong downhill turf course closed for fall meeting.


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Today’s local major sports schedule

Arizona at Dodgers, 7 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Angels at Boston, 4 p.m., FSW, 830 AM

Born on this date

1919: Baseball manager Ralph Houk

1928: NBA player Bob Cousy

1931: Former Dodger Chuck Essegian

1938: Tennis player Rod Laver

1939: Former Dodger Claude Osteen

1942: Baseball player Tommie Agee

1943: Boxer Ken Norton

1946: NFL player Jim Kiick

1955: NFL player Doug Williams

1961: Tennis player Brad Gilbert

1962: NBA player John “Hot Rod” Williams

1964: NHL player Brett Hull

1966: NBA player Vinny Del Negro

1967: Baseball/Football player Deion Sanders

1969: Former Angel Troy Percival

1970: NHL player Rod Brind’amour

1974: Former Laker Derek Fisher

1977: WNBA player Chamique Holdsclaw

1982: Sprinter Tyson Gay

Died on this date

1979: Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, 75

2015: NFL player/sportscaster Frank Gifford, 84

And finally

Derek Fisher hits the game-winner with 0.4 seconds left against the Spurs in the playoffs. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.