Billionaire property developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross is launching a nonprofit Friday that aims to leverage the massive popularity of professional sports to combat racial prejudice and foster tolerance, reports The New York Times. RISE, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, will debut with public-service announcements during this weekend's football games featuring N.F.L. players.
Mr. Ross declined to say how much he is spending on the organization but described it as a long-term effort that could eventually get funding from major sports leagues, leaders of which are serving on RISE's board of directors. Sports broadcasters will donate airtime for the group's spots, which over time will feature superstar athletes such as Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, and LeBron James.
RISE also plans a social-media campaign to encourage fans and athletes to take a pledge to fight discrimination, and it is developing programs to teach coaches, players, and parents about respect and diversity. Mr. Ross said sports "is the common denominator in the world that brings everyone together," and that the visibility and popularity of big-name athletes can help spread a message of inclusiveness.