A little more than three weeks before the NFL regular season opens, Kenny Stills said he and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are moving past the wide receiver’s criticism of Ross for his involvement in a ritzy fundraiser for President Trump.
“We agreed to disagree, and that was it,” Stills said Tuesday, via the Palm Beach Post.
Stills believed that Ross’s event in the Hamptons, which combined with a second event to raise $12 million, contradicted the mission statement of Ross’s nonprofit, Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). Stills criticized the owner on social media and texted him, prompting Ross to call him.
“There’s not much to argue about,” Stills said. “He has his feelings about it, and he stands firm in that, and I respect that. But I disagree, and I told him there’s no hard feelings. There’s no beef, and let’s win some games this year.”
Stills, who continues to kneel during the national anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice, said he is no longer involved with RISE because of “everything that’s kind of taken place from the time of the first protest all the way to now.”
After Thursday night’s preseason game, Stills told reporters that he had received death threats since tweeting about the disconnect between RISE and the fundraiser. “You can’t have a nonprofit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” he wrote.
“Someone has to have enough courage to let him know he can’t play both sides of this,” Stills said after the game. “It’s something that I can look back on and say I made the right decision. … If you’re going to associate yourself with bad people, then people are going to know about it. I put it out there for everybody to see it. If you say you’re going to be about something, let’s be about it.”
As far as Stills was concerned, his complaint about Ross wasn’t personal.
“The tweet doesn’t, like, put me against Mr. Ross,” Stills said last week. “I don’t have any hard feelings toward him. There’s no, like, beef. It’s just like, ‘Hey, these two things don’t align. And maybe somebody else hasn’t told you, but I’m letting you know.’ It’s important to me that the work that we’re doing isn’t just lip service. It’s real. Everything that I do has been real from the very beginning.”
His coach, first-year Dolphins coach Brian Flores, has said that he would prefer Stills convey his views in private conversations rather than tweets, but Stills said Tuesday that he’d “do it the same” if given a do-over.
“I definitely think from a professional matter, the right thing to do would have been to reach out to him first,” Still said, “but through conversations that we have and the history that we have, it gets to a point where I’m just a person that is sharing the message, letting other people know what’s happening, and it’s not a secret.
“It wasn’t a secret that it was happening, so I just was the messenger.”
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