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Stephen Ross creates nonprofit to combat bullying in sports

Apr 9, 2015

Stephen Ross
Credit Flickr user Corey Seeman / Flickr

"You've got a long way to go," is what Stephen Ross, native Detroiter, University of Michigan benefactor, and one of the country's most influential developers, told Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes about Detroit's transformation in a rare interview.

Howes took Ross on a driving tour of the city and says Ross wasn't overly enthusiastic about the improvements that have already been made.

Instead, Howes says his comments discussed "focusing on the realistic issues," including creating incentives such as jobs in the area and securing basic services for the city.

But Ross didn't come to Detroit to discuss the city, instead he wanted to talk about his newest endeavor.

Ross is owner of the NFL team the Miami Dolphins.

In 2013, news broke that offensive lineman for the team, Richie Incognito, was sending racially tinged text messages to his fellow offensive lineman, Jonathan Martin.

The story led to a national discussion of racism in sports.

"I think Stephen Ross, as the owner, saw that this could put a permanent stain on his franchise and there are financial implications for that. There are societal implications for that," Howes says.

As a result, Ross has created Ross Institute for Sports Equality –RISE – which will work with major sports teams to combat bullying.

Ross' interest in sports also includes investments in the University of Michigan's athletic department. Many speculated he played a large role in the athletic department's personnel changes, but Ross told Howes he had never met Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett until Michigan's President Schlissel had already chosen him.