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Volume 26 No. 7
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Stephen Ross Launches Nationwide Anti-Racism Campaign Featuring Top Athletes

Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross' nonprofit Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (Rise) on Friday is launching a nationwide anti-racism campaign that will "show off an unprecedented alliance of most of the larger sports properties, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and NCAA," according to Bill King in next week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. A series of PSAs will "run across most sports" on "major sports networks," including ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC and Turner. The PSAs, which will air in venues and during game broadcasts, show "some of the nation's more prominent athletes," including Patriots QB Tom Brady and Cavaliers F LeBron James, inviting fans to "take a Rise to Win pledge at the organization's website." The ads are scheduled to launch Saturday with a spot "featuring athletes, coaches and students" airing in Michigan Stadium during the Michigan State-Michigan game. Ross is a UM alum. Other athletes "who will appear in spots that will air nationally" include Warriors G Stephen Curry, Broncos LB DeMarcus Ware, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Steelers WR Antonio Brown. The organization's website, RiseToWin.org, allows fans to "pledge to treat others with respect and speak out against racism and discrimination." A photo app lets users "upload a photo, apply team colors and share it along with the tag 'Rise to Win' across social media." The app "turns the image to black and white, leaving team colors as the only colors." Rise also plans "activation at stadiums and arenas, a series of town hall meetings that address inclusion issues, and an education program designed for athletes, coaches and parents" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/19 issue).

SPORTS A USEFUL VEHICLE: Ross said that sports "unify Americans like few other activities, and athletes -- with their visibility and popularity -- can help spread the message of inclusiveness." Ross: "If there's any one place in the world where there is equality, it is probably sports. ... Why can't society use sports as a way to bring people together and create change?" In N.Y., Ken Belson notes Ross' initiative "represents one of the most concerted efforts in sports to tackle racism." Ross did not indicate how much Rise is spending on the effort, but he indicated that it is a "long-term venture that may ultimately receive financial backing from sports leagues" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/16).