By D’Joumbarey A. Moreau
Equality, unity, and opportunity. These are three of the fundamental principles that make athletic competition great.
Even though these three values are generally expressed during athletic matches, they are not always recognized within our natural society, and that’s where the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality steps in. Also known as R.I.S.E., a non-profit organization which was founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, has helped bridge the gap between those three principles-(equality, unity, and opportunity) being reflected within our everyday life. Ross believes that his organization can help create and bring a change in the current climate that our nation deals with now.
In a mere two years of presence within the community, Ross’ efforts have paid off to help others and it’s being nationally recognized. Due to Ross’ works with RISE, on July 11 in Los Angeles, RISE will receive ESPN’s Stuart Scotty ENSPIRE award at the third annual Sports Humanitarian Awards. In addition to the award, ROSS will also receive a $100,000 grant from ESPN because of the organization’s direction in changing race relations and pushing social development.
At the Sports Humanitarian Awards event, ESPN will honor different sporting leagues, sports franchises, individuals and members of the sporting community who are using their influence to help create and leave a lasting positive influence on the population. More specifically, the award which RISE is getting is named after one of ESPN’s legendary on-air talents, Stuart Scott.
“We are honored that RISE is a recipient of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award, named after a man synonymous with bringing all walks of life together through the unifying power of sports,” said Stephen M. Ross. “I want to thank all of the players, sports executives and league officials who have united to make a positive impact around such an important issue.”
The award stands for people and organizations which have taken opportunities and used a creative approach to helping the disadvantaged using the power of sports. Ross himself took a huge risk by starting RISE which has a number of high-profile athletes and sports executives under its umbrella including Draymond Green, Larry Fitzgerald, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Ryan Tannehill, Adam Silver, and Roger Goodell.
With the help of these athletes and under the vision and leadership of Ross, the program has spread like wildfire. After it’s beginning in October 2015, RISE has expanded into states throughout the country including Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas and Washington D.C. to name a few. Their leadership program has reached over 30,000 students, coaches and athletic staff as well as over 100 professional athletes. Additionally, getting fan support is huge and RISE managed to also have over 25,000 fans engage. Let’s also not forget nearly the 12,000 people who pledged.
“They were groundbreaking and got ahead of race relation conversations that needed to be had,” Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas said. “For RISE to give these athletes a platform to voice their opinion on how they were feeling was awesome. The nation really got behind it, and this is something that will continue to grow.”