Stephen Ross Gives $200 Million to Michigan, and Now Miami Hates Him So Much More
With his $4.4 billion in the bank, couldn't Dolphins owner Stephen Ross afford a few remedial classes in basic public relations? We'll give you this crash course for free, Steve: Do not throw an insane $200 million donation at your alma mater months after stomping around and demanding that broke-ass taxpayers pay for fixes at your pro football stadium. Just don't do it.
Well, too late for that. Now the University of Michigan is $200 million richer and everyone in South Florida has 200 million more reasons to hate Stephen Ross' guts.
Ross immediately went on the defensive after announcing the record-breaking donation to the University of Michigan. Because giving that cash to a school is totally different from putting it into a new Fins stadium!
"They are very different subjects, and I think it is important to be committed to both," Ross tells the Miami Herald this morning. "As I've often said, I've promised to pay a large portion of the stadium upgrade costs, but the community who would substantially benefit also needs to be involved."
Yes, we get it: Ross never claimed he couldn't pay for stadium upgrades. He just thought he shouldn't have to in a world where the NFL lives off public largesse and where "the public benefits" from a new stadium.
But that raises another PR problem: If his massive donation had gone entirely toward scholarships or endowed professorships, that apples-and-oranges argument might work. But while half of Michigan's change will go toward a business school upgrade, the other half will prop up -- you guessed it -- the Wolverines' athletic program.
So it's OK for a billionaire fat cat to pay for the athletics that benefit the public in Ann Arbor, but in Miami, well, if the public is going to enjoy it, they've got to pay their fair share too?
Sorry, Steve. This round of swaying public opinion has gone about as swimmingly as the past six Dolphins' drafts. But enjoy the warm welcome up in Michigan!