Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills criticized his boss, Owner Stephen Ross, for hosting a fundraiser for President Donald J. Trump.
Stills, who kneels during the Star-Spangled Banner before NFL games to protest racial inequality, doesn’t think Ross, who chairs the Ross Initiative In Sports for Equality (RISE), can run that foundation and also raise money for Trump.
“You can’t have a non-profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” Stills tweeted.
According to the Washington Post, Ross is hosting a fundraiser in The Hamptons for Trump. It costs $250,000 to attend and includes lunch, a private round-table and a photo.
RISE was started in 2015 to, “equip professional, collegiate and school-aged athletes, coaches and sports administrators with the tools to be leaders in addressing matters of racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusion.”
It’s unclear why Stills feels Ross can’t lead RISE, and raise money for President Trump.
Stills has protested during the national anthem the last three NFL seasons and was called out by Trump on Twitter in September of 2018.
Trump tweeted a photo that showed Stills and Miami teammate Albert Wilson kneeling during the anthem.
In a follow-up tweet, Trump said, “Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”
The NFL TV ratings bounced back in 2018 perhaps because the anthem-kneeling movement lost some steam, with Stills one of the last players kneeling. Wilson suffered a season-ending injury early last season, so he was out of the picture. The only other player who kneeled every game he played last season was Carolina Panther safety Eric Reid.
Stills has no intention of stopping his kneeling or activism anytime soon.
“Activism isn’t something you just kind of get involved in and then turn your back on it,” Stills said in 2018. “Once your eyes are open to some of the things that are happening, you continue to work and try to grow and create change for the rest of your life. It’s something I’m committed to forever.”
Stills resents people claiming his kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful to the the military, flag or police.
“This has never been against the military or the flag or the police,” Stills said.
A big reason Stills kneels during this anthem he claims is because “unarmed black people are being killed by the police.”
“I removed my filter when it comes to politics, religion, social issues,” Stills told ESPN in January. “I’m not worried about whether people are comfortable or uncomfortable. Unarmed black people are being killed by police. It’s unfair that we’ve got people sitting around being comfortable. I’m uncomfortable with that. People want to stay in their own bubble. They don’t realize how much of a privilege that is.”
Some in the South Florida media wonder if Stills ripping his boss on Twitter will lead to him being cut or traded.
“The Miami Dolphins resisted the suggestion of trading or releasing Kenny Stills when it was broached before the season, according to a league source. Reasonable to wonder if a trade discussion could be broached again,” tweeted Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post.
Ross will likely leave that up to GM Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores, who are both black.